This weekend marks the first public open house of a new hospital in the Detroit area, Henry Ford West Bloomfield. I must say this is no ordinary hospital. From the 1920’s themed town square at the main entrance, to interior health food stores, health-smart cooking lecture hall, exquisite Feng Shui inspired interior architecture and decor, to private patient rooms now renamed lodges, you immediately feel more comfortable than you would expect. Certainly that is the whole point, with additional amenities that are detailed to not only help the sick and their families feel more comfortable, but also aid the healthy and promotion of keeping them that way. This $360 million new construction is being closely watched by health care professionals around the country and I am very honored to have my work as part of it.
Prints of my images, health care fine art if you will, from 12x18s to 24x36s, appear in many of the patient lodges, the maternity “suites”, and in various hallways and corridors throughout the building. I was kindly given the opportunity to go in and photograph the installs before the hospital opens on March 15, 2009. Photographing interiors is a bit new for me, a little different than being in the woods. But I tried to follow the same principles – look for interesting foregrounds! I had to be very quiet in the maternity area because I came across an early patient that seemed to be sleeping more soundly than any baby I have ever seen.
In a place where people may have the best, and unfortunately some of the worst moments of their lives, I can certainly appreciate the attention to detail in helping create as soothing environment as possible. Looking to nature for relief and refuge is always a wise choice. I certainly find it there myself. The hospital has made deliberate investments in local artistry to help boost some of the ailing Michigan economy as well as give people visibility to the many artists in Michigan.
Curved walls, round flowing curves on floors and ceilings are plentiful. The patient lodges have an “up north” high end hotel feel to them – many of them overlooking a large indoor “park” filled with tropical plants and a “open-air” chapel surrounded by nature. Warm, inviting color palettes are throughout. Again, attention to detail is everywhere, right down to the leaf decorated hallway lamps, and stained glass above the patient room doors that illuminate with color. All of this isn’t intended to overshadow what I am sure is some pretty amazing medical technology which is in more detail at Henry Ford’s website and their blog.
The open house at Henry Ford West Bloomfield is Saturday, February 28 from 12-8 pm. I am not exactly sure how the public tours will be conducted or the access given, but certainly there will be tours of at least the patient lodges and the mainstreet area. I will be hanging around early in the day. If you have a chance to see this innovative addition to Michigan’s health care system – it is definitely worth the trip.