Internationally renowned for being the hospital where the world’s first human heart transplant took place, Groote Schuur Hospital has long had a reputation for innovation. Now it hopes to further this reputation with a new Innovation Hub, in partnership with the Bertha Centre for Social Innovation & Entrepreneurship at UCT Graduate School of Business and the UCT Faculty of Health Sciences.
Cape Town designer Haldane Martin has designed the Innovation Hub’s new space as a place of participation, collaboration, work-shopping and brainstorming that also allows for quiet solo work.
The parameters of the design brief were restrictive: the Hub would occupy an existing faculty space with a generic office plan; the carpet, ceiling and lighting had to be retained; and minimal changes made to the structure of the building. The budget was also rather limited.
Martin’s design team came up with a contemporary and inspiring wood-filled interior. Eschewing the typically calming greens associated with healthcare, they went for zingy chartreuse and electric grassy shades. Recurring chevron motifs spark the idea of work in progress.
The team created the feeling of a workshop with furniture constructed out of pallets and packing creates, exposed light bulbs on hanging cords wrapped around suspended wooden rods. Whiteboards and writable tabletops encourage brainstorming, while meeting tables and boardroom tables with paper rolls encourage the flow of shared ideas. Tables and chairs are moveable and height adjustable to allow for sit-down or stand-up work.
“The final Innovation Hub is a transformation into an innovative and contemporary working environment fit to host the creative and intellectual capital of healthcare workers on the frontline of an essential service in critical need of a redesign,” says Martin.