Even in the mid-aughts, going to the doctor’s office was quite a different experience than it is now. You’d sit in a dark waiting room, with industrial carpeting or linoleum, in an old vinyl chair next to an ugly Formica or old wood coffee table filled with dog-eared magazines from the previous year. The hallways were decorated with posters courtesy of pharmaceutical reps that read, “Ask your doctor about,” and then the name of a particular drug. The lighting was generally fluorescent and dingy.
But today, the most innovative medical offices are embracing interior design to elevate the patient experience. With so much competition, medical practices are doing everything they can to stand out. Embracing interior design has become a big part of this, especially in places like Southern California where aesthetics and are everything. Here are three practices not only known for their top-notch doctors, but also their beautifully designed offices.
Southern California Reproductive Center
There aren’t many medical procedures quite as personal as IVF (in-vitro fertilization). While this allows people to grow their families, it is costly and emotionally challenging. So, Southern California Reproductive Center (SCRC) seeks to make this experience as pleasant as possible, with a chic office over two floors in Beverly Hills designed by renowned interior designer Maxime Jacquet.
The first-floor space does not have the look and feel of a standard fertility clinic. With sleek marble floors and a trendy curved sofa, it’s sophisticated yet comfortable. Every touch has been thoughtfully selected from the cheerful pink coffee tables to the on-trend infinity flower arrangements.
Art abounds the entire space to create an upbeat atmosphere because having a positive attitude is especially important during the IVF process. The walls of the waiting room feature original custom works of art by Alexander Partman. There is a silver painting over the sofa as well as an oversized pink and gold heart piece that runs the span of the hallway. There are additional pieces by Partman on the other side of the space near the exam rooms.
The fifth-floor office is just as stylish with tufted armless sofas and art-deco style accent tables. It also has custom art with an original piece by Daniel Maltzman. There’s an equally stylish VIP room (SCRC has become a go-to for celebrity IVF and egg freezing) with cool white lacquer furniture and gold-accented chairs.
Dr. Shahin Ghadir who is one of the founders of SCRC as well as one of the best doctors in his field believes design elevates the patient experience especially when it comes to practices where emotions can run high, telling me, “I believe that an office that is professionally designed taking into account the different subspecialties and also the emotional states of potential patients coming through those officers add a significant amount of comfort and solitude to people that need it the most.”
Dr. Michael Schwartz
Dr. Michael Schwartz is one of the best plastic surgeons in California, so aesthetics are truly of the utmost importance to him. When he moved into his current office in Westlake Village, the space needed a gut renovation. So, Schwartz’s wife and office manager, Geri, hired the architectural firm Abramson Architects to design this majestic space. “We wanted a clean, modern yet comfortable and inviting interior. We want our clientele to walk into our offices with a sense of awe and admiration from the get-go. Like how you walk into a beautiful hotel reception, and that sets the tone for your stay,” she says.
After all, a good plastic surgeon should pay attention to all aesthetic details, especially that of their office. It is a direct reflection of their brand. “In our business, we appreciate how important attention to detail is because that is the exact approach my husband has with his patients and their surgical desires. The aesthetics of the space is an extension of how we approach everything we do here. So many surgical offices can feel clinical and soulless, it was important to me during the design process that we captured our brand personality: an opulent touch, yet with warmth and approachability,” says Schwartz.
Schwartz took a very hands-on approach and collaborated with Abramson’s in-house interior designers carefully curating all the finishes and finer details. “I know our customer, and our space needed to be in tune with that. All interior furnishings were selected by me— from sourcing unique artists for the artwork you see, to selecting the color scheme, to the positioning of the decorative pillows— everything needed to meet the initial goal of welcoming opulence.”
While Dr. Schwartz’s office can easily be described as grand, she thinks that anyone in the aesthetic field should embrace a high concept design.
“When someone is sourcing a surgeon for cosmetic purposes, I felt it was integral to ensure the office set the benchmark in regards to thoughtful and elegant design.”
Rise Medical is a practice in Corona Del Mar that seeks to change how its patients take charge of their sexual health by offering an array of related services including sexual rejuvenation for both men and women as well as hormonal analysis. So creating a welcoming space was essential to making the patient experience as seamless as possible.
Co-founder Kathleen Markel opted for a very specific color palette when designing the space. “Rise Medical is a leader in the sexual wellness space, and is considered by many the future of modern healthcare, so we wanted our space to reflect that! We used deep teal, and emerald green with vibrant pops of gold and orange, so that people would come into our space and not only feel comfortable but also energized and renewed, even prior to their treatments.”
While tackling sexual health issues can be uncomfortable or taboo for many people, the office experience should not be. However, unlike Dr. Ghadir and Dr. Schwartz, Markel didn’t use an interior designer or opt for very expensive furniture or finishes. “The highest cost was the custom-built reception desk. So many wonderful things can be done with paint, texture, art, and accessories to create a lux look that doesn’t break the bank.”
The accessible sophisticated look is apartment throughout Markel’s design scheme from the leather chairs to the velvet sofa and cowhide rug. There’s even a bar cart, which is something not often associated with medical practices.
As for this trend in medical design as a whole, Markel believes it’s here to stay and it’s what patients should come to expect. “People should care about the places where they live, work, and spend their time. Good design can be uplifting, poor design can be depressing. I was determined to create an environment as bespoke as the plans we create for our patients.”