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Very Clever Design for Dentist’s Live/Work in a Farming Village

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Set in a small farming village in the suburbs of Nagano, Japan – this pure white live/work dentists office with a private residence attached was very cleverly designed by Hiroki Tanabe to solve a business problem – no advertising.

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The waiting room to the left is one of three separate buildings. In the middle is the dentists office, and on the far side, his home. Entry is through a glassed in section between it and the office itself.

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As patients turn into the waiting room, the entry is visually the same as the outdoors, but they are protected from the erosions of rain and wind – as if they already a bit more protected from decay.

So when they once again cross this same clear glass space into the dentists office it will induce a change in mood to one of safety and protection.

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Despite its rustic country setting, the dentists office itself is the soul of dentists offices everywhere – an alarmingly sterile environment of pure shiny white urethane paint, from floor to ceiling, evokes obsessive cleanliness.

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Deep recessed windows provide shade on hot summers days, while letting in the maximum light.

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The patients who are drawn in from the small rural village have views of the setting of rural rice fields and peach orchards in the surrounding farmland.

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For the dentist, too, going home after a day at the office, there is a change in mood as he crosses between the office into the home section on the other side.

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Inside the glass there is the same visual environment as there is outside. As he passes through the glass he can see the sun or the rain falling above his head, but he is unaffected by it. The crossing helps adjust the mood to one of relaxing after work.

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If so, he is in for a rude awakening when he gets “home.”

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A single TV is lost in the extremely sterile and forbidding living room area at the front of the living section of the three structures.

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No microbes will gain a foothold here!
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Or perhaps dentists love this sort of environment and wouldn’t be able to relax in anything less shiny and white.

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These two exterior courtyards between the three sections could be filled in at a later date if desired, so refined is the exterior finishing.

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Harmonizing with the calm light of a farming village, the lighting pattern also reinforces the message of help and protection. For patients, the waiting lounge is the space for relaxation kept off from anxiety about dental care. Like the living section on the other side, the waiting area is invitingly lit by warm soft lighting in the evenings, as if to say come on in and rest awhile.

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But this rural farm area has an ordinance forbidding advertising. “It is necessary to grab passer’s attention and remain in memory of people without signboards or electric spectaculars” says the architect.

So, emerging from the darkness, the striking building with its unusual light colors also surreptitiously¬†serves another purpose: as an advertisement of the dentist’s professional services.

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