Sparkle Dental Care is a prime example of the effective transformation of an existing residential house to a contemporary dental surgery.
In 2007, Dr Kai Xu and Dr Kang In Lee took over an existing clinic from a retiring dentist in Fairfield, Victoria. The practice had been in operation for more than 50 years. It soon became apparent to the young doctors that larger premises would be necessary to deliver the level of service and comfort they wanted to provide to their patients. When a property became available near the existing practice, Dr’s Xu and Lee seized the opportunity to purchase it and move forward with plans for what would eventually become Sparkle Dental Care's new home.
Good function and flow with a clean, contemporary aesthetic were the key points of the design brief. With a history of excellent results in the design and build of dental surgeries around Australia, Medifit were tasked with the job of making Dr’s Xu and Lee’s vision a reality.
“We chose Medifit based on some excellent comments from our colleagues. Their efficiency and responsiveness certainly left us with a good impression.”
After initial consultations with the directors of Medifit the next stage was to discuss the exact design requirements with the appointed Medifit designer. This process identified the goals and aspirations of Dr’s Xu and Lee for the new practice and Medifit’s designers were able to produce a design in alignment with these values. A former domestic residence, the new site had enough space for patient parking but it was clear from the outset that the building itself would require significant renovation.
The design called for an extension to the existing building to facilitate the efficient operation of the new practice incorporating five surgeries, a Doctors office, a Practice Managers Office, a Sterilisation Room/Laboratory, OPG and staffroom, and a welcoming reception and waiting area. An extension was built on the southern boundary and provided approximately 36m2 of extra space. The extension was designed and built in a modern style, in contrast to the original home, which was around 50 years old. The extension provided the exterior of the practice with a contemporary touch while still being cost effective over a traditional brick veneer finish.
Upon commencement of site works, significant water damage and subsequent rot to the existing structure was discovered due to poor drainage, rendering it unsuitable for a simple renovation. This level of deterioration is unfortunately typical of properties of this vintage. Rather than a simple extension and refurbishment, the building now required considerable reconstruction and site drainage work. The amount of damage uncovered would typically result in complete demolition and a rebuild from the ground up, but Council required that the existing structure, heritage and streetscape was preserved. Medifit was able to retain much of the existing perimeter of the house, although two sides of the structure were completely demolished and reconstructed to look identical to the original structure.
In the words of Sam Koranis, Managing Director of Medifit “In these situations, unfortunately, council maintains authority on the planning of the area and adjacent streetscape. Clients generally have little say in the final outcome.”
Rehabilitating the site and ensuring that the new structure was resistant to the elements in the future should have put at least another 3 weeks on the delivery date and resulted in significant cost variations. Through a combination of expert project management and the strength of relationships built with various trade and service contractors, Medifit ensured that the project was delivered on time and within budget.
A policy of fixed price contracts meant that there were no nasty surprises for the doctors at the end of the job.
The general design philosophy for the interior was to create a friendly, clean and calming interior of simple, modern elegance. Particular attention was given to the flow of patients and staff through the practice and this is reflected in the eventual design. Efficiency in the day to day operation of a practice is crucial to the delivery of effective patient care. With five permanent surgeries, plus space for an additional chair, Sparkle Dental stands well placed to meet the present and future needs of the practice.
Part of the brief was to create a family friendly environment. The finishes were a combination of neutral tones with complimentary greens and shades of white.
The colour scheme evokes a feeling of freshness, with the neutral tones and whites giving Sparkle Dental a comfortable, clean and friendly ambience. Joinery throughout combines contrasting textures of gloss white with the earthy tones of stringy bark and granite.
The waiting room sits adjacent to the reception area featuring a neutral concrete look vinyl floor extending throughout with a curved feature carpet inlay in the waiting area. The earthy tone of the flooring frames the bold white corian reception counter. A small staff area is located to the rear of the tenancy and includes a kitchen and table and chairs.
The end result is a stylish, contemporary dental surgery that gives Dr’s Xu & Lee, their staff and patients an inspired operating environment in which to grow and prosper. The final outcome is a testament to the skills of the designers, project managers and staff at Medifit.
Being able to discuss the building process and having site managers who would give a run down each step of the building process certainly helped us to understand quality of workmanship put in by the Medifit team in Melbourne and gave us a level of comfort that all was going to plan. Moreover, the Medifit team certainly delivered in terms of meeting the time deadline set with quality and professionalism. Our staff and patients really enjoy our new environment and we look forward to offering quality dental care. We cannot be impressed enough.”
Dr Kai Xu, Sparkle Dental Care