Xorel wallcovering was chosen in high-touch areas for its cleanability and longevity.

Image courtesy of Carnegie

Cleanability and durability are important when it comes to health care design. When the University of Miami Health System (UHealth) partnered with Gresham Smith, a design firm headquartered in Nashville, Tenn., to design a new chemotherapy unit in Aventura, Fla., those priorities took center stage. 

Joining a group of 10 other Sylvester Comprehensive Cancer Center locations across South Florida, Sylvester at Aventura wanted to meet the high industry standards for which the institution has been recognized, including in its designs.

Alexis Smith and Maria Sanchez, Gresham Smith interior designers, partnered with UHealth Senior Interior Designer Elizabeth Delgado to tackle the project. Recognizing the unique requirements for the sensitive environment of a chemotherapy unit, the design team sought materials and finishes that would provide equal consideration for resilience and beauty. The solutions would need to meet strict criteria for cleanability and infection control and offer durability. In addition to performance, the materials had to contribute to a welcoming, comfortable and soothing environment for patients and staff.

At the beginning of the design process in 2021, Carnegie, a textile manufacturer based in New York City, provided its Xorel fabric for the hospital’s high-performance wallcovering solution. Used in high-touch areas, including check-in areas and conference rooms, Xorel Fragment Emboss and Xorel Dash wallcoverings were installed directly to the walls in key, first-impression areas where staff and patients interact.

Using the proprietary X-Protect Wall backing technology, the wallcoverings prevent stains and moisture from passing through the textile face to the wall while allowing moisture vapor to escape from wall cavities. Carnegie’s Xorel wallcoverings are easy to install and typically take a few weeks to a couple of months to complete, depending on the facility.

Cleanable with up to a 40% bleach solution and able to withstand other harsh hospital-grade disinfectants, Xorel fabric is low maintenance and highly durable without compromising aesthetic beauty. The woven construction and subtle reflective quality of the wallcovering add to the calming and soothing aesthetic of the space.

“The main reason we use Xorel is because of its cleanability and infection control,” says Alexis Moore, an interior designer at Gresham Smith.

Due to longevity and cleanability concerns, the walls within staff lounges in cancer units are typically coated in paint. However, in this case, the design team felt it was important to add something special to Sylvester at Aventura’s staff lounge, giving employees an enjoyable and empowering space as a respite.

To achieve this, the team chose Carnegie’s Xorel Artform, an acoustic panel system finished with Xorel textile that functions as artwork and improves sound levels within the space. Xorel Artform acoustic panels with a substrate of Quiet Core have a noise reduction coefficient rating of 0.80. This not only provides material continuity but, more importantly, carries all the same cleanability and durability features that factored into the team’s selections for wallcoverings.

When designing the Xorel Artform layout, the Gresham Smith team used Carnegie’s library of pre-designed layouts, called Instant Artform, for inspiration. Once they decided on a layout, the team was able to choose from more than 350 Xorel colorways to curate a palette that was in line with the calming respite they were aiming to achieve. The Gresham Smith team also connected with Carnegie’s acoustic solution design services team to finalize a layout that worked best within the spatial dimensions of the hospital.

This partnership culminated in a chemotherapy unit that seamlessly marries cleanability, durability and aesthetics.

“The selection of Xorel as a high-performance wallcovering solution and Xorel Artform acoustic panels proved to be the right choice,” Delgado says. “These materials not only meet stringent criteria for cleanability and infection control but also add an element of enduring beauty to the health care environment.

“Our staff is critical to how the clinic functions, so we wanted to give them an enjoyable and empowering space as a respite — something they wouldn’t have expected in a staff lounge,” Delgado adds. “Also, Xorel can be wiped down with anything the cleaning and maintenance team chooses to use.”