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Working with hospitals

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Health care institutions have to deal with the high costs of cutting-edge medical tools and drugs and recruiting staff in a highly competitive market. So interior design budgets can be quite stringent.

“The opportunity lies in foundations where there’s an entity inside the hospital that is independent of the hospital that is raising money so it can provide things like artwork,” says Jason Kraning of Optika Scenicworks. “The other way is corporate sponsorships. We are the facilitator of shaking hands. We introduce the concept to the hospital and then tell corporations there’s an opportunity for them.”

BWBR Architects has been in the health care industry for more than 25 years. “What’s coming around lately is the speed of projects,” says Don Thomas. “When they make a decision, they like to move quickly. They don’t want to inconvenience their staff and patients.

“They need to make areas unique without going overboard crazy,” Thomas adds. “These kinds of solutions are pretty cost effective, and they’re easy to change. They’re extending the budget as far as possible in public areas.”

Budgetary challenges aside, Kraning says working in health care applications offers “ancillary benefits that you can’t put a price tag on.”

“We are making money, and that’s great. But you can’t really get the same feeling of satisfaction [in corporate and entertainment venues] as in a children’s hospital,” Kraning says. “It’s fun for them, and it takes some of the fear out of being sick versus if we do a corporate installation or an entertainment group where we are just doing it for entertainment. There’s no fear going into a NASCAR museum.”

Janice Kleinschmidt is a freelance writer based in Palm Springs, Calif.

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