Movable Privacy Screen by KwickScreen Mixes Design with DistancingKristin Crane
2020 has been nothing if not unpredictable. It wasn’t that long ago the major trend in office design was for open concept plans, with lots of opportunity for social contact. The Covid-19 pandemic pressed pause on that trend. Forever? That remains to be seen. Many designers speculate more of a hybrid in the future. The challenge will be to create a space conducive to the sharing of ideas and resources, while being able to adapt quickly if everyone’s safety suddenly requires space. One such solution may be a movable privacy screen such as the one made by KwickScreen.
For over a decade, KwickScreen has been producing movable privacy screens for healthcare interiors. Could they have a broader appeal going forward? We reached out to Michael Korn, founder of KwickScreen, to ask him about the role he sees well-designed, artful screens playing in the future in healthcare and beyond.
Considering the current global pandemic, how do you see a movable privacy screen factoring into patient care?
Twelve years ago, we invented a clear screen to separate beds. Therefore, infections traveling via droplets wouldn’t spread easily between patients. We were specifically looking at MRSA and hospital acquired infections. At the time, the market didn’t want clear screens, so we developed printed screens for privacy. Now with Covid-19, the world understands the benefits of clear partition screens and we’re ready. Over the past 12 years we have certified ourselves as a global supplier of the highest standards. Our products meet all hospital requirements and are proven to isolate and reduce the spread of infection.
In addition, through the years we have gained a lot of knowledge on printing. We now have the capability to combine clear and printed areas on one screen. This combination creates isolation screens that allow for a natural dynamic between people, instead of making them feel separated. For example, by printing a design such as a picket fence, the screen both creates a protective barrier, but adds a playful and interesting feature. Though still in a hospital room, good design can bring people together through a conversation over the ‘garden fence’.
What benefits are there to screens having pleasing art and designs?
Being in hospital is often a traumatic, stressful experience, not helped by the physical environment the patient might be in. There’s lots of evidence proving artwork has calming benefits in improving recovery. The ability to put large format artwork next to patients as they are recovering has a great impact on their wellbeing. And not just theirs. It also helps the staff working in the environment. Hospital staff often work long hours in the same space, without natural light or fresh air. Having uplifting prints can genuinely help improve the mood of everybody in the setting.
What types of designs or colors work best in a healthcare environment?
It really varies, as healthcare environments involve such a wide range of people. In a children’s ward, we want the design of the space to feel as much like their bedroom as possible. Especially for children in hospital for a long time. The design needs to be fun and stimulating! Likewise, there are also people at the end of their lives, who have delirium and confusion. For that situation, the art has to be very sensitively chosen. We have found that what tends to work well are artistic prints with a depth to them, but don’t look too abstract. Design Pool patterns work really well for that reason. When they’re printed on the smooth surface, the detail of the designs looks like there is texture. The designs are interesting but also feel home-y and warm!
Thanks to digital printing technology, we are able to print anything! Finding the suitable design for your environment is fun and easy!
What do doctors or patients have to say about working with a KwickScreen?
Medical staff know the importance of keeping their hands clean. Yet, with a traditional privacy curtain, countless others have been touching that curtain in many different places, many of whom have been treating people with infections. Therefore, medical staff love having only one touch point on our product. It is easy to clean and therefore very hygienic. They also like the flexibility of the KwickScreen movable privacy screen as they aren’t restricted to a certain layout. They can easily reconfigure spaces as and when needed.
Additionally, we’ve had feedback from both patients and staff at how much more calming, private, and confidential the screens have made them feel. The screens allow for private meetings with their doctors without feeling overheard. They are reassured knowing the screen can’t open unexpectedly such as with curtains.
We had a particularly memorable feedback from the family of an end of life patient. The screens allowed them to create a private space within the ward where the family could say their goodbyes privately. They appreciated the screens so much and were moved by the soothing benefit of the artwork that they donated to the hospital so more screens could be purchased and help more families.
Can you speak to the cleanability of these screens?
They are very easy to clean! We worked with infection control and clinical staff during the design process to keep hygiene at the forefront of the design. The screen is smooth and easy to wipe clean with industrial cleaners and has no wheels along its length, making it easy to clean everywhere. Thanks to the innovative tube technology we developed, there are a minimum number of parts and no exposed mechanisms. This means a very large screen is self supportive and rolls up on itself. All these design elements make it easy to clean as the structure is integral in the product. As for using a KwickScreen, a one touch point use to retract and move it means there is no need to touch anywhere else, keeping it simple to clean regularly.
As we think about adapting to social distancing requirements in all kinds of spaces, not just healthcare, do you see KwickScreen reacting to those needs?
See through screens are no longer a strange thing, they are useful anywhere people need to be close to one another. Beyond hospitals there are therapists and consultations, blood drives, even prison visitations which now all need social distancing. With KwickScreen, entire rooms don’t need to be rebuilt or redesigned, our portable and retractable screens instantly create separation barriers anywhere. A movable privacy screen moves like a curtain, acts like a wall, and because it’s on wheels, moves around a room very easily!
Learn more about our partnership with KwickScreen and how you can customize your own screen with any Design Pool pattern. Thank you so much to Michael for talking with us!