On Twin Peaks, arguably the weirdest show to ever appear on network television, the “Red Room” is an eerie and surreal extra-dimensional space full of spirits where the laws of physics don’t apply. Lined in red velvet curtains with a black and white chevron-patterned floor, this mysterious setting plays a key role in the show’s mythology. Given its pop culture association with evil, the room isn’t exactly the most likely space to serve as inspiration for a real-world dental clinic, but Raúl Sánchez Architects was clearly aiming for the unexpected with the new Impress location in Valencia, Spain.
The point, the architects explain, is to appeal to young people. Whether they understand the reference to Twin Peaks or not, visitors will get the sense that the space is hipper than the average dental office. Eschewing the typical bland but professional vibe, Raúl Sánchez wanted the space to feel interesting and engaging – not just an aseptic clinical setting for dental procedures, but a destination. They even built a stage area into the clinic for events, concerts, or demonstrations of Impress treatments.
The layout and design of the clinic is a response to the site’s irregular shape, which is long and narrow and only briefly makes contact with the street. A large central area acts as a waiting room while functional spaces like exam rooms, restrooms, and offices are enclosed within curving volumes. These shapes allow light to filter into the interiors and subtly reference the Impress corporate logo. Some of the walls are covered in pale blue carpeting matching the color of desks and built-in benches, with glowing lines of LED lights cutting across the ceilings.
The blood red room in the back is the focal point of the entire space. Set atop an awkward area where the top of an underground car park juts up into the clinic, the stage features four tube-shaped seats facing each other. Moody promotional images depict an employee in a white robe standing in the room like Laura Palmer waiting to whisper something bizarre into Agent Cooper’s ear. Thematically, it’s an odd choice. Many people are already creeped out by regular dentist offices, let alone those that might resemble the fever dreams of David Lynch. But visually, it’s incredibly striking, and the red shade is part of Impress’s branding, so it fits. Sort of.
“The curves dominate the space, and the existing elements (pillars) that remain in between are treated with mirrors to erase the spatial barriers and add spatial complexity through reflections,” say the architects. “The curves are lacquered in white, and the access doors to the cabinets are pine wood boxes embedded in the curves. Inside the cabinets, blue and white play in diagonal designs, which are a benchmark for the brand, and which signifies Impress’s commitment to new-generation dental clinics.”
“On the ceiling the diagonal direction is reproduced in the position of lighting and grilles. The sales spaces are resolved in blue tones, covering the walls with carpets, and executing the furniture in situ with mass-colored fiberboards. The red tones in the background are precisely a claim to convert what a priori was the most residual and dark area into the most special area of the clinic.”