In the context of the hospice’s relocation in Ratingen, two_space developed a concept study for a service center for critically ill peope and their family. Additionally, it was supposed to provide a place for seminars and further education purposes for the staff members – a lot of them volunteering.
The chosen place in an independent former factory building right in the city’s center would have given the movement a strong and noticeable appearance for all kinds of people to identify with. Furthermore, it would have been within walking distance of other important institutions in the city such as churches, doctor’s offices or hospitals.
While developing the concept, two tried to include the patients as well as the staff members in equal measure. On the one hand, a dignified and comforting atmosphere was supposed to be created for the patients and relatives. On the other hand, we tried to show the staff the appreciation they deserve for their work by designing a calming and strengthening environment.
This aim was realized through various aspects in the inner and outer appearance of the renewed building. Therefore, only warm, soft and earthy colors were intended. The outer façade is held in a charming, gentle brown beige instead of a hard, contrasty white. A writing of a philosophical quote imbedded in the wall also avoids the strong contrast between façade and inscription and creates a fluent connection of appearance and meaning. This way, the patients would have been given the feeling of affiliation and being imbedded in this social environment.
This softness continues in the interior designing. The materials used allow almost exclusively an aging process and possess a natural character. Rough oak wood boards for the floor, wicker mesh and oak timber for furniture as well as corten steel for the entrance portal, which makes the aging process through its weathering perceptible, reflect life experience and maturity. By their narrative characters – especially for elder people – these materials are associated with something familiar and one therefore discovers a part of their own history in this space.
A small waiting area right next to the entrance and across the reception emanates warmth and patience due to its comfortable, soft lounge chairs that are associated with “grandpa’s old rocking chair”. The corridor is flanked by sound-absorbing wool felt panels that support a pleasant room acoustic. They serve as place for personal notes or families’ avowals. This way, a familiarity and intimacy between like-minded is created and gives people the feeling of belonging and acceptance.
Unfortunately, this concept was never realized due to reasons regarding the building laws in the background of chronological dependencies.