Teeth Time BKK
The dental clinic that transforms worry into a relaxing environment by using design

Mentioning the dentist’s, it’s always a commercial building or a shop in the shopping mall with the front bay of the pole used as lobby full of people from a wide range of age queuing before the large TV screen playing programs in the weekends, with the children’s weeping voice as a background.  That has been the image of the dentist’s that we have remembered since we were young. 

However, Teeth Time BKK, established by the dentist’s two partners, has totally broken the mould.  Determined to run a dental clinic in Phran Nok- Phutthamonthon area, the clinic is completely turned into a place with a totally relaxing vibe as if you were chilling out at a café, which sounds similar to the word “Tea Time” in order to alleviate many patients’ concern of feeling hurt from dental treatments.  This design has been successfully completed by Karj- Karjvit Rirermvanich, an architect from Physicalist.

The design starting from the location

One of the factors that help entirely differentiate Teeth Time from other dental clinics is that the clinic is a standalone building, which is different from general ones which are usually rented commercial building and furnished with interior design.  “When the building is standalone, the first task that comes to my mind is how to maximize the benefit from being built in this way.  The design is therefore started from the project location, of which the only way of transportation is driving.  The project is still hard to reach because it is located near the intersection and bridge threshold, which makes it difficult for people to see it.  Thus, the building must be tall enough to attract people moving around in that traffic area before all cars pass by without noticing it.  Furthermore, the building must contain a front space to clearly communicate with car users that the parking space is both available and user-friendly.”, says Khun Karj.    

Similarly, to make the building attract more people moving around, the language of the architecture must therefore bring about enough impact.  Because both dentists wish the building to contain the element of arch to reduce the stiffness of the box-shaped building, the designer hence utilize the single larch arch in designing the façade to clearly communicate with the cars moving around.  “If we intricate the arch, it won’t contain enough impact because people usually move around too fast to notice any single detail.  So, we go for the single arch and repeat it into facades in all sides.” 

Something More: the façade is constructed from stenciled iron bolt which keeps the details of lap weld inside.  The façade is also obviously separated from the building layer to turn out like another layer of building skin.  The detail of the expanded metal material is to create the pattern which contains appropriate opacity when it is seen from the road.   

Dental Clinic or Cafe?

Although this is an extremely specific-looking dental clinic, the structure is quite simple and clear.  It is divided into 3 zones: front lobby for patients to wait inside, treatment room consisted of 3 rooms for adults and room for children, and the back of the house consisting of x-ray room, dentist’s room, shed, restroom, and equipment-cleaning room.

In planning the building, Khun Karj designs the building in each zone to be linear-structured so that every function room is linked together, surrounding the courtyard with the light entering from the round-shaped roof space above.  In each different period of the day, the light’s direction and color change.

Something More: Setting the structure in single corridor is the easiest and most economical way in setting systems and services because there is a small air inflation room which generates the air to equipments in the treatment rooms.  Furthermore, there is an equipment-cleaning room, where the equipments from all treatment rooms are cleaned hear before re-using.  It is necessary that all the functions are linked together because it is convenient and cost-effective.
If we start from the entrance, we’ll see a large lobby of which the roof is made high-rise.  It also contains two 2-metre mirror slits along both sides of the lobby, giving the sight of panorama image inviting patients to sit down in here to calm themselves by watching the green area consisted of shore Eugenia trees, the decorative plant, in the middle.  The next part is the treatment rooms’ corridor, of which the advantage is there is no limitation in the pole bay, allowing it to expand the size of the treatment rooms, making them considerably more comfortable and more spacey than usual.  Like general dental clinics, there is also a long corridor inside which leads to the lobby’s counter to facilitate the service

Within the 4 treatment rooms, the opening spaces are also differently designed to give different vibes to each room.  If we notice well, it is seen that the interior design still applies the circle or semicircle arch shapes in designing different parts, which is the character of interior design.  There is also lines which are two meters high from the mirror height used as the reference in designing vertical and horizontal lines around the space.  Moreover, the space details are all made by ironwork to make it as fine as possible and be simply folded behind the lapping area. 

Treatment room for children

To make the entire designing ideas become clearer and more harmonious, we have a chance to talk to Khun Fei – Korkiat Kittisoponpong, the Design Director from InFO, who designs the clinic’s logo and environmental graphic work.  “First, we observe the strength and outstanding points from our architecture and expand the idea from there.  Like here, the ambience of coming to see the dentist is like chilling out in a café.  When we designed the slogan, we tried to go for the friendly, relaxing words like ‘Smile’ and ‘Crafting’, which still sound professional.  What we tried to convey is like… this clinic takes time to delicately create and beautify your smile.  So it turns out ‘Crafting Your Smile’.”  Khun Fei says.    

But when it comes to logo design, the dentists want it to be different from other clinics with generic tooth-shaped logos.  Khun Fei thus looked for other symbols that can signify the brand like modifying the toothbrush, which everyone knows, into the clock’s hands to fit in the name “Teeth Time”.  Even the doors of the dentist’s room still contain a room number designed from the clock as a gimmick, or the restrooms which apply the gender icons from the clock’s hands. 

“I think it’s kind of a trial for us when we change the dental clinic.  The burning questions are like “Will the dentist hurt me?”, “Will it turn out satisfactory?”, or “Is it still OK with what I have?”  But when the mood of the architecture changes, it attracts rather many customers.  The dentists also told me that there are many new dentists applying for the job here.  Looking in another way, in addition to customer-oriented design, it is the dentists’ workplace as well.  If the atmosphere is great, they would feel like working here every day, and the mood of all people in this building will therefore be uplifted.” says Khun Karj.

Karj- Karjvit Rirermvanich, architect from Physicalist and Fei - Korkiat Kittisoponpong from InFO, graphic designer

Lately, we notice that more dental clinics pay more attention to the design, which helps boost it in every dimension from being the workplace for all dentists, being the place for alleviating the pain of the patients, or being a great development for the architects’ designing diversity.  It is therefore a satisfactory and exciting thing every time we see many specific workplaces using the design as a tool for adjusting human’s feeling or behavior.  If you plan to go to the dentist’s, you can just pop in Teeth Time BKK, and you’ll know that the spatial design can alleviate your concern in dental treatment.   

Location : Taling Chan, Bangkok
Architectural Design : Physicalist
Design Team : Karjvit Rirermvanich, Sasikan Supradit Na Ayutthaya, Mira Intharakul
Structural Engineer : Itthipol Konjaisue
MEP Engineer : Suchada Nilchan, Wittaya Paengnuja
Brand Identity & Environmental Graphic Design :InFO

Rangsima Arunthanavut

Rangsima Arunthanavut