NeoCon 2018

NeoCon brings together nearly 500 companies and 50,000 design professionals, providing 100 CEUs and showroom tours highlighting new products. We were honored to attend “the commercial design industry’s launch pad for innovation” at the 50th Annual NeoCon.

Similar to a project launch, our trip began with familiarizing ourselves with the site (Chicago) and networking with ten other Boston designers who comprised our team for the week. The icebreaker event at BeSpoke Cuisine divided the group into smaller task forces, each completing one course of the meal. We were excited to work together to make something wonderful, appreciating the unique skills and perspective everyone brought to the table!

The following morning, we headed to the Focal Point factory, which graciously sponsored our trip to Chicago with Boston Light Source. Familiar with the Focal Point, we were excited to delve into their design and development, manufacturing processes, and operational strategies. We were given the opportunity to weigh in on some of their newest product developments like the Skydome Edge Acoustic, an acoustical ceiling solution that compliments their Skydome LED pendant. We are already brainstorming ways we can utilize these innovations in one of our next projects!

Chicago’s architecture has an amazing blend of Neoclassical juxtaposed against the sleek lines of modern design. This contrast of old and new is also apparent in the sculptural art found in the city—for instance Buckingham Fountain with its Rococo-influenced intricacies in comparison to the simplicity of Cloud Gate. And for the record, we Bostonians agree… it’s most certainly a bean, not a cloud.

Over the past few years, we’ve started seeing a shift in healthcare design to take inspiration from other sectors of design, in particular hospitality and residential, and this year’s product introductions at the Merchandise Mart only reinforced this trend. Comfort and flexibility impact the user experience and we’re starting to see waiting spaces evolve. A combination of soft seating, usable work areas (such as a high-top counter), and areas for privacy versus family space are all considerations when designing these healthcare waiting environments. As designers, we are responsible for considering the needs of a wide range of users to make our designs as inclusive and comforting as possible.

The Merchandise Mart also featured a few finish showrooms such as Tarkett, where we saw new releases in both the resilient (Johnsonite) and carpet (Tandus) industries. Bold shapes and tile formats left us brainstorming fresh ways to look at flooring for future projects.

We kept our eye out for unique alternatives for products as our industry continues to look at other markets for inspiration. Carnegie, Buzzispace, and 3form all had great new concepts for combating acoustics, without sacrificing form for function. Incorporating decorative techniques to address acoustics could impact hospitals, specifically regarding HCAHP scores on the “Quietness of Hospital Environment”.

    

The Barbican showroom featured their NeoCon Gold-winning WEV collection and a new concept for ceiling design—a 3D fiberglass printed mesh grid system which could be accented in a variety of colors while allowing lighting, sprinklers, sound, and security systems to live above the tiles. This product lends itself to a particular type of installation where the ceiling plays a more influential role, but if specified in the right application, it could introduce color and pattern in an unexpected way.

A few more product highlights:

  • KI featured their new desking series Tattoo, which won a NeoCon Gold award. This series embodied flexibility with options from sliding privacy screens, height adjustable worksurfaces, and hybrid storage and seating options.

   

  • Doug Mockett had rows and rows of hardware and accessories. This was interesting to see firsthand as these details sometimes come as an afterthought. We’re always keeping an eye out for innovative design.
  • Sherwin Williams highlighted color trends for the upcoming year. To combat the stereotype of hospitals being white and sterile, it’s important to incorporate fresh and engaging schemes. Paint is an inexpensive way to refresh a space.

Gerflor flooring’s European product designers were the masterminds behind the latest Gerflor launch—a terrazzo inspired sheet product with vibrant color options. This product would be perfect in bright colors for a pediatric environment but could also be used in neutral colors for a lobby space looking for a terrazzo visual for a fraction of the price. We’re seeing a growing interest in resilient flooring (rubber, sheet goods, and luxury vinyl tile) because of cleanability, comfort under foot, and acoustics.

NeoCon offered plenty of inspiration for us. We’re looking forward to applying these innovative products to our projects.

Berkshire Hathaway, Amazon, and JP Morgan’s Bold Initiative

Increasingly as healthcare groups consolidate, the single hospital model of healthcare delivery is vanishing. As architects centered in healthcare, working with both for-profit and not-for-profit systems, we’ve seen the consolidation drive a direction from single facilities to real estate management. Larger healthcare groups are now launching their own insurance groups to drive consumers to their care products.  This focus developed the emergence of a new trend, healthcare being stitched into lifestyle communities: why get 15% of a person’s income while under treatment when entire health/lifestyle maintenance organizations could be created, capturing a larger segment of the economic pie. Each of us, in America, has had to deal with rising insurance costs covering less and less care. In a characteristically visionary statement, Amazon, JP Morgan Chase, and Berkshire Hathaway have announced their intent to create a healthcare system for their own employees, effectively capitalizing and driving this transformation.

As consolidation of hospitals into systems have begun in earnest over the last few years, it seems to be inevitable that there will end up being eight to ten national healthcare delivery systems emerging. Although great strides have been made in the for-profit sector, in regards to breaking down the state borders and managing the different healthcare approval agencies, the question remains – where is the funding coming from? In providing a ready source of payees, these three large corporations are basically providing the means to effectively self-insure and care for their employees.

As treatment modalities become increasingly home-based and as humans become intrinsically more disease resistant due to genetic advances and treatments, the large central hospital seems destined to transform into smaller regionally-based trauma centers. We see this emerging in the trend for micro-hospitals, private urgicenters, and the conversion of retail spaces into ambulatory care centers.

As pharma starts to integrate into these large corporate entities, they will have access to large national distribution centers with ready buyers and prescribers of their products. To be sure, there is a great deal to be developed in this new corporate model, integrating employees with health systems, but we have already seen it taking root in the pharmacy chains such as Walgreens merging with nationally recognized healthcare providers.

Although US healthcare is divided currently into three sectors, regional, for-profit, and not-for profit, these too may merge as the need for research-fed, targeted, precision medicine will be required to be market-ready and competitive. The merging of for-profit versus not-for profit care models will help defray the costs typically associated with research. Nowhere is this more evident than the groundbreaking work in IVF where costs have vastly dropped and success rates drive the patients to providers who yield the best outcomes.

Governmental cutbacks to funding have spurred a need to come up with affordable care alternatives. Although companies such as Prime, Kaiser Permanente, and Adeptus, to name a few, have established much of the groundwork for such large corporate healthcare entities, this bold step by these three corporations represent a modality and reality that was thought to be far in the future. Healthcare Center construction demands great financial resources and long lead times, it is incumbent on those in the healthcare design community to provide for flexibility for an uncertain future. As professionals schooled and dedicated in the planning of healthcare centers, we need to be helping our clients plan for diverse and innovative options as these consolidations speed forward.

FIRST LOOK: University of Vermont Medical Center’s Robert E. and Holly D. Miller Building

Title Render

 

The University of Vermont Medical Center’s Robert E. and Holly D. Building E4H designed was highlighted by Healthcare Design Magazine! Read the full article here.

This project has been part of E4H’s master plan of the UVM campus. We are thrilled to have been part of the planning and implementation of such a world class healthcare facility. The new 162,000SF inpatient bed replacement project will have 128 private rooms with natural light and ample space for supporting family members.

 

 

E4H Project at Memorial Sloan Kettering Highlighted in Vice President Biden’s “Moonshot” Cancer Initiative

From: https://www.mskcc.org/blog/between-moon-and-new-york-city-vice-president-biden-leads-msk-cancer-moonshot-roundtable
From: https://www.mskcc.org/blog/between-moon-and-new-york-city-vice-president-biden-leads-msk-cancer-moonshot-roundtable

E4H designs space for Epigenetics Program at Memorial Sloan Kettering. Over the years, E4H has worked extensively to transform the facilities across the Memorial Sloan Kettering health system, including an improved ICU, upgraded outpatient exam Rooms, a wellness-focused rehabilitation center,  and the freestanding Sidney Kimmel Center for Prostate & Urologic Cancers.

A full renovation of the 4th Floor of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center created a space for the new Epigenetics Program, where scientists and clinicians can engage in scientific discovery, translational cancer research and drug development. The aim is to facilitate faster discovery of breakthrough therapies by bringing scientific research closer to the point of care.

The renovations of this world-renowned medical center were designed to propel its cutting-edge research. E4H Architecture’s New York office led this multi-year phased project, which incorporated our Smart Facility Design principles to best support current evidence-based clinical practices, for patients, clinicians, and staff alike.

The next phase in development will renovate the building’s walkways and existing laboratories to provide more space to accommodate contemporary models of interdisciplinary care teams. The offices from the 2nd through 10th floors are being redesigned and converted into interactive areas for collaboration, and conference rooms will be upgraded to include state-of-the-art communications technologies.

In May, Vice President Joe Biden visited the Epigenetic Center at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in New York City as part of his “moonshot” initiative to cure cancer. Over the last several months the Vice President has met with hundreds of top cancer physicians, researchers, and funders to show the federal government’s commitment to increasing public and private resources in the fight against cancer. The Vice President has also called on the medical research community to share data and information in order to accelerate our understanding of the disease, its causes, and options for a cure.

Forbes report on Healthcare and Technology

http://www.forbes.com/healthcare-2025/#40f986664f30
http://www.forbes.com/healthcare-2025/#40f986664f30

Forbes recently published a report on how technology is revolutionizing the healthcare industry. It looks at three categories: Consumers and technology, Funding and Finance and Active Lifestyles.

The report references a StartUp Health Insights report that stated digital heath companies received a record $1.8 billion dollars in funding in the first quarter of 2016 – That is a 450% increase over the first quarter of 2011.

With increasing availability of new smart tools (fitbits, smart refrigerators, etc.) and new digital platforms to make healthcare more available (Doctor on Demand, GetHeal, etc.), we are excited to see how technology will continue to transform the health landscape.