Designed to CARE: Putting People Back into A+D
As the health sector across Asia Pacific undergoes new challenges, we look to our A+D community to design solutions for tomorrow. Zenith Interiors have done just that!
The design industry – and in particular, its media professionals – practice quite a number of bad habits. In this, I am admittedly the last to “j’accuse” … those in glasshouses, et cetera. But, I will say this. Too often, when we speak about design in the healthcare sector, we limit ourselves to nit-picking building codes and standards assessments. We speak (at length!) about hypotheticals – and yet, surprising little about post-occupancy. And, it never ceases to shock me particularly within this space, but some of us will discriminate according to design frameworks, forgetting that disease knows not how to discriminate.
I am happy to report (and in this case not whinge about legislation and certifications) that there is a revolution underway. Having finally embraced the unimpeachable virtues of natural light for the capacity to heal, we’re now looking in absolutely any space within our healthcare facilities – the politics of access in car parks, the tonal palette of lobbies and service walkways – to optimise the quest of a healthier furniture through intelligent and thoughtful design. Design, that is, to heal, to comfort and to delight.
Earlier this month, Zenith Interiors exhibited their latest collection of purpose-driven designs for the health and aged-care sectors, Zenith CARE, at Australian Healthcare Week. Covering a staggeringly vast international suite of designers and studios, the collection stands as a leading example of evidence-based design. Each element is meticulously researched, tested, standards-approved, and considered from the end-patient’s and end-practitioner’s needs, limitations, recovery stages and safety.
In what undeniably represents a holistic solutions-driven approach to designing for this critical sector, the collection also marks two distinct milestones for A+D in this region. For a brand that is sixty-one years young, this new chapter speaks to Zenith’s ongoing commitment to rethinking our design traditions and behaviours in alignment with rapid social, cultural and technological change. But, secondly, through Zenith CARE it is clear that Zenith Interiors is not simply trying to just change design features for health facilities – they’re trying to change the way we think about design. They’re re-writing design’s inherent logic.
Team Zenith, that is, is pushing us further to achieve a cultural shift for A+D. With Zenith CARE, the A+D community is being asked to consider new approaches to accountability for positive outcomes on the human condition. This is design that is actively participating in a direct socio-political forum. As our healthcare facilities and practitioners are dealing with a degree of problems, capacities and limited resources – heretofore unseen – our A+D community has begun to position our collective creative and visionary potential to lobby organisational ‘best practice’. No longer can design in the healthcare industry be a secondary or luxury addition to the service of providing health. No longer, that is, can the attainment of ‘health’ be divorced from the curative benefits of the material space within which that venture is performed.
Leading by Example: Zenith Interiors and Designing Tomorrow
As ‘part’ of an extensive product and brand offering under the Zenith umbrella, Zenith CARE reminds us that the pursuit of design (not to mention the pursuit of health as well) labours too frequently under adverse conditions – but it needn’t. As the ‘sum’ of this same extensive offering, Zenith CARE embodies a history of innovation, thought-leadership and risk-taking – an entire world-history of design thinking AS humanitarianism. Design through the Zenith lens is a path to a healthier tomorrow. A path to growth.
Last year I reported on Zenith Interiors’ growth across the Pacific – it is one of many stories that testify to the ongoing support of such brands for our emerging design talent. For the inaugural year of the INDE.Awards, Zenith Interiors have sought to nurture and support these standards of innovation, bravery, intelligence and thought-leadership across the A+D community of Asia Pacific. Their 61-year history highlights that our region’s creative potential is – until recently – a relatively untapped goldmine of radical paradigm shifts in design thinking, teaching and practicing.
Partnering with the INDE.Awards while simultaneously launching Zenith CARE might seem like fortuitous happenstance – but the reality is so much more significant. Both the INDE.Awards and Team Zenith understand that the human exists at the heart of our collective pursuit of capital-D Design. And, both the INDE.Awards and Team Zenith seek to celebrate environments that bring people together, that help us share, collaborate, learn and improve. Through an impressive pan-regional presence throughout Asia Pacific, a hands-on approach to manufacture, research and development, and project management, Zenith offers us all access to an irreproachable possibility for Design: spaces that embrace technology, that can be confident in the provision of solace against any difficulty we might face tomorrow.
By David Congram