September 8, 2019|News

Healthcare Interior Designer Q&A | Susan Clark

susan-clark-clark-patterson-lee-interior-designerThis post is in a series where we talk to healthcare interior designers about their work as interior designers in the healthcare market.
Susan Clark is an Interior Design Leader at Clark Patterson Lee and 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?

In 2001, I attended an intense three day workshop at Harvard University on healing environments taught by Jain Malkin. I loved healthcare design before that workshop but learning from the pioneer of healing environments impacted my approach towards interior design of hospitals ever since then. 

What products have you been excited about recently?

Digital everything! So many products offer the ability for digital and custom graphics. It really opens up more possibilities for creativity in healthcare design.

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

I think incorporating the look and feel of wood at some place in the design – whether on the ceiling, on the walls, flooring, or even just in the millwork. Wood adds warmth to the space which naturally feels better to everyone. Fortunately, there are so many products on the market right now that are "faux-wood" that meet the strict durability and cleaning guidelines for healthcare facilities.

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

Don't be afraid of color. When I look back to some of the finished projects early in my career, I wish I had been more bold with color.

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

The perfect flooring for an operating room! And I'm not talking about aesthetics – I'm looking for a floor that will be indestructible and easy to keep clean. We've tried everything and there's no perfect floor.

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)Crystal Hill (Odell Associates), Dr. Debra Harris (RAD Consultants)Libby Laguta (, and Kristin Ellingsen (KE Design & Office Furniture Group).