Jocelyn StroupeCannonDesign’s Director of Healthcare Interiors, Jocelyn Stroupe, shares her thoughts on the interior design industry as a whole, what’s on the horizon at CannonDesign, and what inspires her.

What is the biggest misconception about what interior designers do?

The biggest misconception is that we only specify furniture and select finishes. We are trained to consider the entire interior environment spatially as well as all of the details that are necessary to construct spaces. Interior designers bring a comprehensive approach that focuses on the operational, functional, social, and psychological issues for those who experience interior environments.

In particular, healthcare interior designers comprise a highly specialized segment of the interior design profession that addresses environments for a range of facilities including acute care, senior living and ambulatory care. The particular needs of those who utilize healthcare facilities, either as a patient, resident, family member or a caregiver, are addressed through an understanding of the issues that impact safety, infection control, codes and standards as well as environmental factors that provide comfort – with the overall goal of transforming the healthcare environment into an environment for healing.

How do you see the role of an interior designer evolving in the next five to ten years?

As health systems try to maximize the impact of every square foot through new operational and care models, significant change management issues arise. Interior designers are taking on more of an advisory role by helping systems consider the implications of these changes and their transition to new space. In the next five to ten years, our role will include managing the evolving cultural change that is associated with the physical changes. In order to solve this level of complexity, I see interior design teams comprised of those from other disciplines, including environmental psychologists and workplace strategists.

An emphasis on health and well-being is also emerging and interior designers are uniquely positioned to understand how interior space impacts health and healthy behaviors.

What is the most important or critical aspect of the evidence-based design process?

The evidence-based process is one where decisions are based on the best available evidence throughout the design process. It is a very formative process where options are evaluated and analyzed before construction begins, resulting in solutions that are sound. We use an evidence-based approach in our work because it provides a rationale for a given solution that is based on how the environment can affect outcomes.

We’ve heard the firm will be launching experiential design as a service in 2017. How would you describe that service, and how is it different than interior design?

The patient experience continues to be top of mind for our clients – maybe more so than ever before as it is now more explicitly tied to reimbursement. While creating a healing environment is of utmost importance, so is the focus on quality and outcomes. In the face of increased mergers and acquisition activity, the importance of branding and image has been elevated. The experiential design services will define the story of a brand in ways that focus on experiences for patient, families and staff, and will define meaningful engagements for each of these stakeholders.

Over the course of your career, what has been your favorite project to work on?

This is such a difficult question to answer since I cannot identify only one! I am drawn to projects with unique challenges and enjoy the relationships that are built over the course of the project. One of my favorite projects was for Banner Good Samaritan in Phoenix several years ago. The team was highly multidisciplinary and the collaborative process extended to all professions, the contractor and the client. We collectively set goals and worked together to meet them. When the project was completed, we had achieved what we set out to do and had built amazing personal relationships in the process.

What location have you traveled to that has inspired you as a designer?

The most interesting location I have traveled to was Morocco.  Several years ago, my husband and I had the opportunity to visit Marrakesh and a seaside city, Agadir. Marrakesh was incredibly rich – the souk was a marketplace filled with all types of products for sale. The color of the textiles and spices were amazing and the people were fabulous negotiators! The Jemaa el-Fnaa is a marketplace and square and in the evening had snake charmers, dancers and even a dentist, who set up his tools of the trade on a card table. We were driven across the Atlas mountains and desert from Marrakesh to Agadir. It was interesting to sit on the beach looking across the Atlantic Ocean from the opposite direction from how we see it in the US!

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