Skin and Bones: DRDERM by Atelier Central

Snapshot: “The surrounding limits transform themselves into a continuous skin” Jose Martinez’s latest design is the new wrinkle-free face of DRDERM, Portugal.

Having founded Atelier Central Arquitectos in 1996, Martinez aims to achieve a certain level of collaboration throughout the creative process, engaging the client’s vision and incorporating the overall brand aesthetic into the concept. Each project must stand out as an individual, expressive of both Atelier Central and of its own identity. For DRDERM, Martinez fully incorporated both the functionality and the thematic aspect of dermatology into the creation of the space, allowing the walls to echo the company’s care of the human body.

When it comes to our skin, we desire a soft, smooth and supple touch, clarity, purity and a truly natural look. What we don’t expect is for our dermatology clinic to mirror this image. Martinez has expertly infused the professional and cosmetic aspects of skin treatment into the design of the space, putting the clients at ease as they meander through the softly winding corridors throughout the clinic.

Explaining the significance of this structural feature, Martinez’s focus was “to eliminate angles by establishing smooth transitions between the different planes in a continuous movement that leads us through an esoteric dimension.”

The consistency of the space relies heavily on the chosen materials that map out this gentle sloping maze. By using soft greys in micro cement across the walls, doors and closets Martinez has created a “homogeneous and continuous perception” for the client, guiding them through a cool and soothing space. As these walls represent the blank canvas of skin, the touches and details throughout are designed to adhere to similar imagery.

“The cabinets are solid, made of translucent glass, with several transparency indexes, reflecting movements that are confused with shadows, revealed as drops of water on the skin.”

The coloring of the space rarely strays from shades of neutral tones and natural materials, predominantly swaying between harmonious shades of charcoal. However, the vinyl flooring in the treatment rooms offers bursts of strong colors which Martinez has introduced as part of the Feng Shui which permeates the design.

The stairway is perhaps the most interesting feature of the DRDERM clinic. Snakelike in its curvature yet sculptural in its artistic execution, it elegantly tunnels and burrows throughout the building. Formed by wooden panels, both interior and exterior facades offer the raw wood as a welcome natural and decorative feature to the cool clinical grey surroundings.

As with every detail of the design, Martinez intended this stairwell to imitate the human body “It is presenting itself as the frame of the body which shapes our skin by gently pulling and pushing against it. The wood is arranged to accentuate the bends by formation in a solid upright slatted and carved structure. The wood has been brushed with a matt lacquer which gives a pure, true and warm perception of the material.”

The DRDERM clinic is cooling, sooth and a true expression of a desirable human form. In Martinez’s words, “It is a narrow space defined by walls, which never form square angles and cause innumerous corners.” The warm wooden bones and soft silver skin of the space create an ethereal and mystical impression of the treatments taking place and effervesce with bone chilling, beautiful Feng Shui.

Photography by @fernandoguerra FG+SG fotografia de arquitectura | architectural photography