Patient-First Design with Janet Kobylka
I recently had the opportunity to sit down with designer Janet Kobylka, Lead Interior Designer and Transition Planner at Workplace Solutions, Inc. With an extensive background in design, specifically healthcare, I was curious to get her take on the future of the industry as well as what inspires her on a daily basis.
Who or what has been your biggest influence as a designer in the healthcare market?
The needs of the patient and the fervent desire to improve healthcare outcomes through the power of good healthcare design. This can influence improved acoustics, reduction of medical errors, reduction of environmental stressors, increased staff retention and the improved relationship between the hospital and the community it serves.
What would be your "dream project"?
A healthcare project with no budget and a client with an easy approval process that wanted to implement the latest advancements in healthcare design!
If you weren't designing for healthcare, what would you be doing?
I have a passion for art. I would love to have my own home art studio and I would like to specialize in reclaiming old objects (like they do on HGTV's "Flea Market Flip" or "Fixer Upper"). The idea of reclaiming and re-purposing old things is a wonderful sustainability story and it preserves history. I also have a passion for learning and travel. I would like to attend educational seminars around the world, so I could learn more about other people, their culture, language and history. As a mother of a special needs son, I would also like to do more volunteer work for the special needs community.
Who is your favorite designer outside of the healthcare world?
Santiago Calatrava, the famous architect and painter who has designed many iconic structures around the world. My favorite structure is the Milwaukee Art Museum. It is such a beautiful building that I don't recall the art collection within it! Watching the wings of the art museum "open" is magical.
Do you have any predictions for how the healthcare world will change over the next few years?
I think it will become a much more outpatient and telemedicine-based practice. I also think that the focus will shift from ill-patient care to well-patient care. The focus will be on incentiving people to take charge of their own lifestyle and improvement of their health and well-being before they end up in the emergency room.
What is the last design item you bought for yourself?
A fine pair of leather swivel chairs from Pottery Barn. I can't recommend them enough!