The need for sterile and efficient environments that are also warm and inviting can cause a rift between function and aesthetics in healthcare facilities. The latest products and tech to hit the sector aim to balance clean spaces and good design.


Support Wings
Designed by William McDonough, FAIA, and carpet maker Patcraft, Butterfly Effect is a series of modular carpet tiles that pair environmental sustainability with social enterprise. The manufacturer diverts 2% of the proceeds from the sale of its versatile flooring to fund pediatric cancer research at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. Certified by Cradle to Cradle, a product standard co-developed by McDonough, the carpet tiles are made of solution-dyed, stain-repellent nylon fibers. The product gets its name and design—which emulates the dynamic patterns of a butterfly’s wing—from the principle of chaos theory that connects seemingly insignificant occurrences to major events. Three patterns are offered (Dart, shown), each in 18 colorways, and can be specified as a fractal image or pixelation.

USAI Lighting

Optimal Light
USAI Lighting’s Color Select technology lets users control the color temperature of downlights and wallwashers to provide cold light during patient examinations and warm light while patients relax. The control technology varies the color temperature of electric lighting from 6000K to 2700K.

Création Baumann

Cool Curtains
The Health Care collection from Swiss textile maker Création Baumann comprises 11 nature-inspired designs in a range of hues (Basic IV UN, shown). The flame-retardant polyester fabric has an anti-microbial finish that resists dirt and moisture. The semi-transparent fabric can drape for uses such as panels, partitions, and curtains.

Nurture by Steelcase

Seat Suite
A designer’s role in healthcare spaces extends beyond the exam room to communal areas in which patients and loved ones can wait or meet with medical professionals. Regard from Nurture by Steelcase diverges from traditional waiting areas with a series that incorporates extra-wide seats, integrated power outlets, and resilient fabric to enhance comfort and productivity. Divider screens between clusters are available to add privacy.


Clean Slate
ActivClean, a series of antimicrobial copper hardware from Allegion mitigates the spread of germs in patient centers. ActivClean uses CuVerro’s proprietary bacteria-killing copper alloys to kill microbes, such as those containing certain strains of staphylococcus and E. coli within two hours. The series includes locks, push-pull latches, pull handles, and push plates.

In the Lab

Strong Bond
Researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden developed an antibacterial polymer that bonds with cellulose fibers to create eco-friendly alternative to antibacterial agents such as the nanoparticles comprising antimicrobial materials including fabrics. The bond prevents the fibers from detaching in water when they are washed and thus entering and contaminating the waste stream.

Health Capital
In a survey of 15 LEED-certified hospitals in the U.S. constructed between 2010 and 2012, Perkins+Will found that the average premium on the project’s capital cost for sustainable design was 1.24%. That’s down from 2.4% in the firm’s 2008 survey of 13 other U.S. hospitals.

Clean Glass
Corning developed an antimicrobial version of its resilient Gorilla Glass that incorporates an ionic silver antibacterial agent in its surface and is designed for use on the screens of touch-enabled tech devices such as room schedulers, tablets, and smartphones. 

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