BERLIN (DE) - Anyone entering the KU64 dental clinic in the centre of Berlin in the expectation of finding the usual clinical and sterile dentist's waiting room could be forgiven for thinking they had wandered by mistake into a fashionable club. The dentist, Dr. Ziegler, commissioned GRAFT architects to create a room that would immediately put visitors at ease. They designed an interior inspired by the topography of a dune landscape: undulating floors and ceilings generate 'hills' and 'valleys' which in turn create contrasts between screened-off, sheltered areas versus high visibility open spaces. The idea is to make visitors feel they are in a bar, restaurant or wellness centre so that they gradually forget any anxiety they may have felt and begin to relax.
In the lounge-like waiting room, soft couches are ranged around a suspended open hearth. Areas of the orange-coloured walls and ceilings are painted with anamorphic images that can only be deciphered from certain viewpoints so that one's experience of the space changes as one moves around the interior. The continuous floor and ceiling surfaces are made of several sheets of plasterboard whose orange-coloured surface consists of four separate synthetic layers: an undercoat of colourless polyurethane, a coat of orange elastomer paint, a white screen print of a particular image and, finally, a protective transparent synthetic top coat.
The area in front of the toilet cubicles is equally unexpected. In a raised, blue elastomer-coated pool, float two glass washbasins. The reflections on the ceiling and the trickling of water in the pool give this room the restful ambience and spatial quality of a modern bathhouse. All in all, the use of synthetics in this project contributes to the uniformity and continuity of the various spaces. The architects demonstrate that a visit to the dentist can also be a pleasant experience such that one almost forgets why one is there. (Emiel Lamers)