January 21, 2020|News

Healthcare Interior Designer Q&A | Kimberly Bernheimer

This post is in a series where we talk to healthcare interior designers about their work as interior designers in the healthcare market.
Kimberly Bernheimer is a Principal at PF&A Design. She is certified by the American Academy of Healthcare Interior Designers (AAHID).

What is one book, person, or talk that has been most influential in your career?

My grandfather was a doctor, and growing up, he had always inspired me to go into the medical field knowing he was able to help heal many people. Design was the thing that really piqued my interest though, and a career path aptitude test in middle school confirmed that design was indeed a good fit for me. So, when I discovered healthcare design in college, it was an instant perfect fit because it provided me with the best of both worlds. I am able to now help people heal through design.

What products have you been excited about recently?

Graphic images in design can bring life as well as a calming feel to any space. I particularly love incorporating images that depict natural environments, plants, animals, etc. in my designs. With new and expanding technologies it's exciting that the options have become endless and more affordable.

Do you have any go-to design solutions or techniques for creating healing environments?

I find that the right lighting design, to include natural daylight, indirect light, and special lighting systems, helps to create the calm and comforting environment typically needed in a healthcare space.

If you could tell your younger self one thing, what would it be?

I would tell my younger self not to be afraid to tell my clients exactly what they need to hear and not always what they want to hear. It’s best to be frank up front that desired program needs might need to be cut in order to keep their remaining spaces more functional in the long term and to compromise at times making some spaces multi-functional to achieve the client’s desired outcome in a limited footprint.  

What is one product that doesn't exist but should?

That’s easy. Indestructible, but aesthetically pleasing flooring that is easy to maintain. Flooring has been the toughest product for clients to easily maintain whilst withstanding the ongoing stresses of their industry.

We've also talked to Michelle Clark (REES Associates)Jennifer Fink (BDA Architects)Lindsay Hampton (Pulse Design Group)Melinda Avila-Torio (THW Design)Lilliana Alvarado (UPHEALING)Ashleigh Pfluger (TJNG Partners Inc.)Jane Rohde (JSR Associates)John DuBard (Boulder Associates)Lisa Cini (Mosaic Design Studio)Susan Clark (Clark Patterson Lee)Crystal Hill (Odell Associates)Dr. Debra Harris (RAD Consultants)Libby Laguta (L2D.Design), and Kristin Ellingsen (Office Furniture Group).