Varberg Municipality wanted Midsommargården to set a new standard for the care homes of the future. The vision was for a place where senses and memories are stimulated. In order to succeed, the aesthetics and function of the interior design were carefully considered from the ground up. With the support of Kinnarps’ Next Care® needs analysis, Midsommargården has been given a long-term sustainable interior design, with a focus on the elderly residents’ quality of life and the staff’s working environment.
Like many Swedish municipalities, Varberg has an ageing population, while its existing care homes are growing shabby and outdated. So when planning Midsommargården, the municipality wanted to create a care home that could also serve as a reference for future projects.
Our Next Care® needs analysis identifies the requirements for creating the ideal care environment for you. It provides good conditions for a supportive care environment and a reliable basis for designing a total interior solution. An important part of the analysis is about training decision-makers to specify the right requirements for the interior design. Another is to involve, include and prepare all the individuals who will be spending time in the spaces. In simple terms, it's about understanding and analysing in order to improve. Read more about Next Care® here.
Early on in the process, we set up broad collaboration groups that thoroughly examined what they wanted for the new care home and how we could achieve this to the greatest possible extent. It’s been an exciting learning curve, with Kinnarps in particular providing many eye-opening moments.
Midsommargården’s interior design and layout aim to create a sense of belonging, security and involvement for the elderly and people with dementia. As Marie Sundqvist points out, one notable feature of the project has been the dialogue between different competencies. Everything from dementia experts and accessibility consultants to architects and property developers. The vision of stimulating memories and senses is now evident in the easily accessible garden, and in the choice of materials and colours.
Midsommargården should be a place where the whole reflects aspects such as respect, consideration and the dignity of the individual. The physical environment should feel warm and welcoming in order to enhance the elderly residents’ quality of life, while also giving staff more time to take care and thus ensure that the municipality’s investment is sustainable in the long term.
Marie reports that the process started with a number of meetings with Kinnarps. The initial work mainly consisted of the municipality’s working group, with representatives from both healthcare and construction, acquiring knowledge, obtaining common reference frameworks and creating a stable platform from which to start.
"We appreciated Kinnarps’ experience and expertise, and the fact that we were also able to see their products in order to gain more specific knowledge about how the interior design e.g. creates better total ergonomics. Kinnarps understood what we needed and wanted, was able to offer the expertise required to deliver a total interior solution and has the products required to realise our vision", says Marie Sundqvist.
Kinnarps acted as a bridge between the various competencies in the working group and was able to bring in important perspectives on the interior design. Kinnarps’ Next Care® analysis and the handbook on healthcare environments it has produced were a huge help.
“In this project, the customer was clear that they really wanted to get it right from the start and all the way to the finish line. They understood the importance of investing time and commitment from the start in order to achieve a successful outcome, and our Next Care® needs analysis supported their process,” says Johan Franzén, Next Care® concept manager at Kinnarps. “In the first phase, we worked on identifying challenges and opportunities, as well as on defining values. We then organised a number of workshops to map out the needs and involve all the stakeholders. We focused on holistic functionality, rather than individual products,” he continues.
The next step involved developing concrete proposals for interior design solutions based on the analysis, in order to create a future-proof interior based on knowledge of the unique and real needs. “Knowledge and quality at all levels will ensure a good, long-term and sustainable investment, in terms of the municipality’s finances, the health of residents and staff, and the experience for relatives,” says Johan Franzén.
Pia Lindskog is one of the two heads of unit at Midsommargården. She knows from experience that the physical environment makes a huge difference to day-to-day activities.
"This care home really stands for something new. There’s a strong sense of home here, which feels safe and pleasant for the elderly, while the working environment takes some of the load off our employees, so they have more time and energy to devote to our residents. Everyone working here has been involved in influencing the interior design, which is a major advantage. Kinnarps was really responsive, while adding new perspectives. It’s immediately clear how seriously they take this area,” she notes.
Pia Lindskog emphasises how important it is to combine aesthetics and functionality in the furniture – and in the interior design generally. To avoid that institution feel, encourage the independence and confident navigation of the residents, and create a working environment that enhances the enjoyment and well-being of the employees.
We wanted furniture that provides sensory and emotional stimulation, while we needed to respect the fact that our activities impose special demands. Both soft and hard values are required. We can’t choose one or the other – we must have the complete package. Kinnarps’ stylish and functional interior design has been the key to achieving our high ambitions.
Marie Sundqvist retired shortly after Midsommargården opened in March 2021. She now looks back on the project with pride and joy.
I really think we set a new standard for care homes with Midsommargården. Varberg and other Swedish municipalities have a good example here of what it takes to create the care homes of the future. Take your time, analyse the needs, consider the interior design from day one, invest in long-term quality, and combine aesthetics with functionality!