by Lori Wegman, ASID, IIDA, Principal, Wegman Design Group, Inc.

It’s probably no surprise that managing their health and having a “life health plan” is increasingly important to today’s aging Baby Boomers. They are more likely to take control of their health outcomes and to identify risks factors by better understanding their family medical history, genetic mapping, and environmental factors. Boomers are also frequent users of many traditional and alternative medical, mental, physical, aesthetic and therapeutic services.

Our client realized that embracing these behaviors and understanding baby boomers attitudes would be key. So Moorings Park began gathering information,  reaching out to experts in medical, fitness, and spa services and pairing them with interior design, architectural and engineering professionals.

To help visualize how The Center would look, we developed the wellness programs/services in conjunction with the space planning. Residents gave input through focus groups. We made full-scale mock-ups of the clinic exam room to assure the details worked without being too institutional.

The design we came up with promotes wellness by blending medical functionality and the latest technology  with hospitality-like aesthetics. The Center includes five zones for core programs – medical clinic, physical therapy, fitness, comprehensive spa, and education/socialization. Because we wanted to make the space as transparent as possible, the different areas overlap somewhat in plan, but also have appropriate areas of enclosure.

The place needed to be able to connect people to each other as well as staff. We added a café and a concierge style desk that doubles as a check-in for scheduled appointments or programs.  A wellness library with wireless Internet, workstations, and lounge style seating with tablet arms is nearby. This space is welcoming, provides orientation, social interaction and information.

To empower this growing tech-savvy population the latest technology is seamlessly integrated throughout the facility.  Informational flat screens, a lab with connectivity to outside experts, iPad-friendly cafe, intimate theater for educational presentations, and state-of the-art equipment all provide access to information — whether in a social setting, one-on-one consultations, group sessions, a classroom, or meditation space.

The Sheffield Theatre, which seats 75, is one of the most unique and an unexpected aspect of this project, and it shows our client’s commitment to engaging the mind. The theater is for physician lectures, expert presentations, small musical or ensemble performances, as well as first run movies.
It has a state-of-the-art digital projection, simulcasting capability, theater sound system, stage rigging, and computer controlled LED lighting. Senior friendly details include: zero floor transition stage, removable front row for wheelchair access, acoustics, flooring integrated system for the hearing impaired, custom designed and manufactured seating with cup holders.

With so many functional parts, it was a design challenge for us to maintain a cohesive “place presence” of the entire Center while defining each of the wellness activity areas as their own functionality and energy level dictated. We did this by having a core set of materials — bamboo, brushed stainless, linen white; and palate of blue/greens . Each area has the core materials manipulated in proportion, as well as accent colors, such as an orange backdrop, to activate the café.

The space is fresh, energetic, and open. Far from intimidating, its natural light, green materials, and integrity of form provide a sense of confidence in The Center’s excellence.

A licensed professional with 25 years experience, Lori Wegman established Wegman Design Group in 2001 after a successful career holding executive level positions in design firms, as well as consumer branded/retail corporations. Lori is a member of the International Interior Design Association (IIDA), and an Allied Member of the American Society of Interior Designers (ASID).