In LightArt’s designer spotlight series, we’re taking a look at completed projects and the talented people we had the privilege of collaborating with. In 2014 we worked with Vicki VanStavern from Vicki VanStavern Design Group on a large scale redesign project at St. Anthony Healthplex in Oklahoma City.

A particular challenge was finding a cost effective lighting solution for the large atrium entrance at St. Anthony. Working together to find a fixture that would provide tranquil illumination, along with interesting design elements.[,] Vicki and [3form & LightArt representative] Joli [Sanders] turned to LightArt’s Zero fixture from the Essentials collection. We reached out to Vicki to learn a little more about the project and her design experience.

Let’s first start off with a little background on the St. Anthony project. Can you describe the general scope of the project?

Our scope was full interior design services including the design and detailing of special interior architectural features, lighting, finishes, furniture, and artwork.

There are now four Healthplex facilities which ring the city and offer on-line appointment booking. In addition to general emergency care, they include a heart triage area, comprehensive outpatient services including a full service laboratory, diagnostic testing capabilities such as x-rays and a 64 slice CT scanner, and a spa-like area specially designed for friendly and comfortable women’s services. The upper floors house primary care physicians, as well as other physicians with a wide range of specialties.

Atrium of St. Anthony Healthplex
Atrium of St. Anthony Healthplex

What led you to LightArt and the Essentials Zero for your lighting solution in the atrium?

The lobby areas feature a 28’ ceiling with walls that are largely unbroken by any detailing, changes in plane or windows, all within a fairly small floor area. My dilemma was “what do I do with the expanse of vertical space, bring it into human scale and proportionate with the size of the room? How do we keep the drama intended by the architect and yet provide a safe and comforting environment for people in a stressful situation?

You worked with Joli Sanders, a 3form/LightArt rep, can you describe working with her and process of deciding on the Zero fixture.

I had looked at a number of options including sculptural elements and had evaluated several light fixture options. While I was still evaluating options Joli happened to come in for an appointment to show me the new Zero fixtures which had just come out. It was the perfect solution! I always love working with Joli and prefer using her products because I know she will be a great help to me and will stay on top of things. There were other circular fixtures we could have used, but having a rep like Joli makes it an easy choice. We also had a great deal of 3Form product elsewhere on the project, so the continuity was helpful.

LightArt Essentials Zero fixture at St. Anthony Healthplex
LightArt Essentials Zero fixtures at St. Anthony Healthplex

From the look of the photos, it was pretty large install. When designing a space with so many pieces, what type of troubleshooting do you have to plan for?

Each of these facilities is 50,000 to 60,000 SF, so yes, there are a lot of pieces – especially with a facility of such varied use. A challenge with so many different uses and stakeholders is to make sure everyone is informed and invested in the process and the result. Trouble arises when people don’t believe they have had input or don’t think they have been heard. I’m not claiming I always succeed at this! But listening intently, caring about concerns, and explaining solutions well is both the most challenging AND rewarding part of any project. Obviously, I don’t design for myself. It’s the client, the architect, the other consultants, the contractor, the suppliers that make a successful team and result in a successful project.

Can you describe how to begin to tackle a project? What is your creative process like?

Again, the most important part of a project is to get a very clear understanding of the goals and desires of the team. I’m constantly reminded of this whether it’s a large project or a single room, and I will fail miserably if I don’t have access to the user of the space. The first thing I do (if given the opportunity) is to sit down with each person involved and talk through their needs and desires. I then repeat back to them verbally what I’ve heard and ask if I understood them correctly. Then I document what I’ve heard and give it back to them in writing to verify the goals. When that foundation is laid people are excited to see their desires come to fruition, and surprised to see how it can be done perhaps differently than they imagined. Given good information, the creative process falls into place.

A recent Vicki VanStavern Design project a Hall Estill
A recent Vicki VanStavern Design Group project at Hall Estill

From reading your bio I see you have a strong connection with nature. Can you describe how you consider and incorporate natural elements into projects?

The obvious answer is views to nature, access to natural light, use of natural materials, and all these elements naturally apply. But then also the use of curves as opposed to straight lines (which are rarely seen in nature), using color to shape and define a space, being mindful of the proportions used in nature, and providing access to those things necessary for human life – water, refuge, and vista.

A recent Vicki VanStavern Design project a Hall Estill
A recent Vicki VanStavern Design Group project a Hall Estill

I see that you had a Specialization in Environmental Psychology, which sounds fascinating. Can you describe to me what that means?

Environmental Psychology is the study of transactions between individuals and their physical settings. In other words, how environments affect perception, behavior, productivity, and well-being. In recent years there has been a plethora of research studies to support information that was previously anecdotal, particularly in healthcare design with the emphasis on evidence based design. It’s exciting to have solid data to inform our design decisions. I think that’s what I like best about interior design – there’s always more to learn.