rooms of tranquillity
Alphonse and Florian Schyns from Schyns Medizintechnik in an interview with Kai Uetrecht, nexus product design
The character of a room has a considerable influence on the well-being and recovery of patients, and Schyns Medizintechnik creates rooms imbued with tranquillity. Products merge with architecture to create a single unity, integrative room concepts which visually calm every hospital room - while ensuring a maximum degree of functionality and ergonomics for staff and patients. Schyns has been a byword for innovative technology and enduring design since 1984. In addition to supply units for standard and intensive care, lighting systems, central gas supply and medical connection devices round off the service portfolio provided in the hospital sector. Each project is individual. Products are therefore designed with such a degree of modularity that Schyns can respond flexibly and quickly to specific customer requirements during planning, production and logistics.
We talked with the two owners about the importance of design for their company.
"design is the potential of our future"
Nexus. Mr Schyns, could you tell us something about the origins of Schyns Medizintechnik?
Alphonse Schyns. Well, having worked for many years in the field of central gas supply for hospitals, I founded the company in 1984. The centralised supply of medical gas is a complex and comprehensive topic when it comes to the planning, installation and maintenance of complete systems. I realised that we needed an easily planned "item" to attract attention, so I developed our first medical supply unit, the S 300. We've developed consistently since then in this direction, while still continuing to benefit from our planning experience. In addition to Germany, we're represented today with medical supply units and gas supply in other European countries, the Middle East, Russia and Africa.
Nexus. Can you tell us something about the visible content of your corporate philosophy?
Alphonse Schyns.Health is a core value today. The population is ageing, and transitions between the fitness, wellness and health care markets are becoming increasingly fluid. As a result, more and more people will find themselves temporarily in facilities for the prevention or treatment of illness. It is increasingly important for these institutions to understand that the patient is in an exceptional situation and feels at the mercy of circumstances. This demands an environment which provides the patient with security, peace and confidence.
Florian Schyns. And to support this, we develop products that combine innovative technology with a minimalist design.
Nexus. What exactly drives you?
FS. What drives me on is a desire to realise the many wishes and requirements of our customers in a way that ensures they receive suitable products that are right for every project and embody perfect ease of use.
AS. Producing well-being. This can't be achieved through superficial effects. It's only possible through the reduction of sensory disturbances to a minimum - and concentrating on the essentials.
Nexus. What do rooms of tranquillity mean for you?
AS. Even the furnishings and fittings of a hospital can contribute to the avoidance of stress if they are restrained and create a pleasant atmosphere. Sensible integration of products creates a humane architecture with rooms of tranquillity. Products that integrate into the architecture are more than superficial embellishments. It's of emotional and ergonomic value if products do not unsettle or even frighten patients, but rather radiate visual calmness and a sense of security. The products themselves are restrained, as their functions are intelligently integrated. For example, we're not concerned with the shape of a lamp, but with the light that it provides for relaxed reading, accurate examinations or safe orientation.
Nexus. Where do you see the future of room architecture?
FS. The demands on health care will change. There'll be an increasing number of clinics that'll more resemble a spa hotel than a hospital. The design involved is oriented increasingly towards that of hotels or the residential environment. In many cases, not only medical equipment and competence, but also the architecture and furnishings of rooms are a measure of professionalism and an important differentiating factor in the growing competition encountered in the health care sector. The hospital operator has, of course, costs for acquisition and maintenance or flexibility in the clinic routine in focus, but won't be able to ignore his clinic as a brand in future. This applies in particular to optional services. But even in other cases, good design is not necessarily a question of costs, but rather intelligent solutions.
Nexus. What does communication mean to you?
FS. Our brand is measured by our communication. Every clinic project has its own unique requirements. Solutions are always individual. Dialogue with our customers - the planners, architects or operators - is therefore essential if a perfect result is to be achieved. Of course, this also includes open communication in product development, production and later on in after-sales service.
Nexus. Do you have to have principles in this business?
AS. Yes - we want to provide our customers with products with which they can achieve their goal. This possibility to react to individual wishes can only be reflected in our planning and production by an intelligently developed modular system of modular products.
"our brand is measured by our communication"
Nexus. What effect do well-designed products have on your brand and markets?
FS. A brand has to achieve an edge to assert itself on our market. This includes technological innovations, but also content such as the relationship to people or architecture. We've succeeded through our product design in appealing to the decision-makers, especially architects, not only functionally or by talking about the price, but also by fascinating them on an emotional level. Our products are less interchangeable as a result.
Nexus. Does a well-designed product also have advantages for your customers?
FS. For products where a matter of seconds or extreme precision are important, design is not an end in itself. A well-designed product sends a message of reliability in an emergency through its professional design. Simple, self-explanatory operation, including with regard to cleaning and maintenance, is essential, since the product is an important tool for medical staff.
Nexus. Why do you work with an external design office?
AS. An external design office that deals with a wide range of markets, product categories and technologies allows you to look outside the box. If you want to achieve meaningful advances, it helps to observe, analyse and predict social development on a holistic level. But it's hard to find the time for this during daily business.
Nexus. What do you expect from the design of the future for Schyns Medizintechnik?
AS. It should be sensual and practical.
FS. We need to maintain our lead through continuous innovation management. It's the only way to ensure that we have a unique selling proposition in future.
Nexus. What understanding of quality lies behind your design strategy?
AS. We can't develop our brand further with comparable products. Uniqueness is what counts. Also, reliability alone is no longer sufficient. Agility and adaptability are becoming increasingly important. Resource efficiency and eco-efficiency of products have long been more important to us than merely ensuring a long service life. Complex functionality is no longer enough on its own without self-explanatory usability and excellent service. Therefore design is the quality criterion. But the greatest added value our brand has recognized as quality understanding is that it used to be enough if products and processes did not make people ill - but in the future they'll need to promote health.
Nexus. To finish off our interview: Does an entrepreneur need to have hobbies?
AS. Of course. As far as I'm concerned, sport, including marathon running and even on an international level, acts as a counterbalance to business activities. You earn recognition at a completely different level.