The existing retirement home was too small, so Hammarö municipality decided to build a new one. The Djupängen planning phase gave an opportunity to think about functionality and aesthetics, from scratch. With the help of the Kinnarps Next Care® concept, Djupängen now has a physical environment that improves the quality of life of the elderly residents, frees up time for staff to dedicate to nursing and gives the municipality a reason to feel proud of their investment.
Hammarö municipality has been discussing the need for a new elderly care facility since 2013. The first plan was to renovate an existing residential care home, but when investigated, it proved to be a much too short-term solution as the elderly population was growing and it would not provide enough space.
“Actually, I think everyone was aware that renovation wouldn't be the optimal solution. We would not have been able to achieve the feel we were after – a warm, welcoming care environment that radiates respect, empathy and dignity,” says the municipality's project manager Annika Lückner.
"Furnishings are absolutely vital for how the facility is perceived; they give the environment its feel. I view furniture companies more as partners than suppliers, people you can talk to and exchange knowledge and ideas with."
There is a separate room with sliding door panels near the lounge that residents can rent for private events with family.
For Kinnarps Karlstad, it all started with a meeting with the working group for Djupängen. At the meeting, the group described their vision for the facility and were clear that they wanted suggestions for solutions, not a list of products. This suited Kinnarps as they are always eager to share knowledge in their projects.
With the Next Care® concept, Kinnarps has developed a method of mapping and analysing care environments before the interior design solution is drawn up. It was natural to use parts of this method in the Djupängen project. Based on the customer's wishes, Kinnarps Karlstad tailored a process that included a workshop for collecting stakeholder expertise and for engaging everyone involved in the project.
Karin Boström, Silvia Nurse in Hammarö municipality and specially trained in the area of dementia at Sophiahemmet in Stockholm, emphasises how important it was to base every detail of the Djupängen project on knowledge.
“Getting there has been a long-term journey in-house. The municipality was excellent at getting all involved to understand why we were building and furnishing the way we were for the sake of the elderly and those with dementia,” she says.
"There were days I spent training builders and interior designers on our thought process and our vision for what we wanted to achieve. We were also very particular about listening to the Djupängen staff’s thoughts and opinions so as not to miss any important details."
She continues: “There were days I spent training builders and interior designers on our thought process and our vision for what we wanted to achieve. We were also very particular about listening to the Djupängen staff’s thoughts and opinions so as not to miss any important details.” Karin Boström expresses that Kinnarps listened very carefully and truly understood the needs. “It was obvious that they have a great deal of expertise and that they genuinely take this area seriously. They didn’t provide a lot of proposals, but what they did give us was always well thought out and designed to meet our needs. And, of course, the fact that they have the right products – functional and aesthetically appealing in their design and materials – was a determining factor.”
Elin Larsson at Tengbom architects tells of how the involvement of the staff in everything from the functionality of the building to details in the interior design was a central part of designing Djupängen. The modernised facility needs to reflect life outside it, under one and the same roof. With the meadow and forest on one side and the town on the other, you can feel safe. Your flat is your private space. In your section, you can choose to participate passively or actively in social activities with your closest neighbours. The walkway outside your section is your nearest street and the lounge for socialising with its café and courtyard is your nearest town square. You can go to the hairdresser, dance and sing, have a cup of coffee at the café, stack wood in the yard, read a book in the library, invite your family over for a birthday party or just sit and enjoy your indoor and outdoor environment.
The furnishings and choice of products promote a good environment for residents and staff, aid navigation and are tailored to the needs of their target group.
The contrast between the flooring and furniture make the room and its functions clear and understandable. The furniture in the residents’ common areas are uniform in shape and section-specific colours. There are six different colour schemes with two sections of the home connected to each. Each of the twelve sections has its own symbol – one of the flowers found in the meadow.
The environment and interior design give a homely feel. All common spaces can be used for socialising, are stimulating and offer restful places to sit in privacy. The furnishings encourage both active and passive participation. For example, furniture can be positioned facing a window or into the room for socialising.
In many healthcare projects, there are two clear challenges to procuring interiors. One is that you often focus on the lowest price, instead of focusing on quality, which is a long-term good and sustainable investment. The other is making the right demands on the combination of function and design. Interior design that is based on hard and soft values feels secure, stimulates and shows respect, all of which promote well-being. “Creating one without the other is simple, it is the combination that distinguishes Kinnarps. Having such products is key to the major success of this project,” Kinnarps Karlstad tells us.
In formulating the Djupängen procurement, Hammarö municipality harnessed both hard and soft values and saw the value of a good combination of function and design.
“Much of it has been collaboration where we shared knowledge, ideas and visions with each other. In the end, it was all about Kinnarps understanding our needs and wants, and having the products and expertise to be able to deliver a holistic solution,” says Annika Lückner. She continues: “We want Djupängen to feel as homely as possible while having respect for the special needs that can come with age. Not only should the interior design be attractive, it should also be functional. That's what gives it a cosy feeling!”