By directly translating our Clients, Client’s needs, BLP have delivered 6 new maternity suites at St Vincent’s Private Hospital, as part of the overall new Fitzroy redevelopment.
Every new mother’s delivery experience is unique, however the environment in which she returns to recover, must provide warmth, privacy, and connection during this pivotal time. The medical team at St Vincent’s Private engaged BLP’s human-centered design expertise to redesign and align their maternity suites to meet the requirements of the birthing woman, her family, and support personnel.
To achieve this, BLP carefully translated the mother’s needs, engaging the user from the beginning, effectively converting their experience into the built form, and genuinely understanding the importance of the environment for both mother and infant.
“Designing an environment that closely resembles a ‘home away from home’ and family life is not only important for reducing medical intervention, but also for the transition into motherhood and the physical and mental healing that begins when you become a mother.”
The 6 new maternity suites were redesigned based on 41 mother and clinician feedback responses. The consumer feedback survey was conducted on the St Vincent’s Private Instagram and Facebook accounts, and the responses provided valuable insight into the mother’s recent hospital experiences.
Maternity suites are often sterile and clinical looking, busy, bright, and noisy, giving women the feeling they lack control over what they can choose to do during and after birth. Most survey respondents echoed this opinion, with requests for increased natural light, amenities that support the recovery process and spaces to accommodate family, all of which would result in a less threatening environment.
“Childbirth is a physiological event regulated by a complex and powerful hormonal system, requiring the natural primal brain’s guidance. This framework is incompatible with clinical, bright, and threatening environments.”
BLP reinterpreted these suggestions into a more considerate environment, ensuring that mother and infant return to their own room with familiar furnishings, easing the family’s transition from hospital to home life.
Designed to deinstitutionalise the usual hospital environment, the maternity suites reflect a boutique hotel aesthetic. The refurbished suites encourage wellness and recovery by providing a space that is 1.5 times larger than the previous rooms, accommodating a queen bed for mother and partner and a separate eating area to get out of bed, move around and dine with family and guests.
Clever design and materiality were applied, with a layout that can adapt and grow over time, assuring long-term durability and longevity while supporting the new mother, family, and loved ones. Fixtures in the bathroom and bedroom are similar to those found in a high-end hotel ensuite, with neutral and natural tones throughout and clever joinery specified to hide classic clinical components.
“A spot for baby next to the bed, without lights directly overhead. I felt like I had to spend a lot of time during my stay in the dark, as I tried to avoid baby in the glare of clinical lights.” – Past St Vincent’s Private Hospital Maternity Patient
The view is the centrepiece of each suite capturing the magical city and cathedral views. The beds and nursing seats are positioned to take advantage of the city views and natural light, evoking feelings of contentment and wellbeing.
“Daylight is critical in the recovery process and plays a vital role in our physical and emotional health. Natural light helps regulate our circadian rhythms, which is something newborns are learning for the first time.”- Edwina Ter, Design Lead
All spaces within the room are created to support the intimate bond between mother, baby, and loved ones. These spaces were designed with a true appreciation for the importance of family and friends in the recovery and transitioning process.
The redesigned maternity rooms at St Vincent’s Private, Fitzroy, honour a woman’s journey into motherhood by providing a safe, considerate, and supportive environment in which she can recover and flourish.
The St Vincent’s Private Hospital, Fitzroy redevelopment is currently under construction, with a further 10 storey tower in the works, comprising of consulting suites, new operating theatres, birthing and maternity suites, inpatient units and an intensive care unit to be delivered by the end of 2024.