Camp Smile

  • area / size 4,000 sqft
  • Completed 2015
  • Shea, Inc. has designed the new pediatric dental office, Camp Smile, located in Excelsior, Minnesota.

    The team at Camp Smile had a different kind of dentist’s office in mind: one that eschewed the scary, sterile stigma in favor of bright colors, quirky design elements, and lots of texture. Shea was tasked with the mission of creating a dentist’s office for Camp Smile’s kid clientele that would feature fabulous design for their trend-savvy patients, from toddlers to teens, while still appealing to parents. It needed to have a sense of whimsy that was still sophisticated and dynamic.

    A playful, practical design was the solution. Shea collaborated with the client on every decision and design element, such as the custom-designed light fixture made from sterilized dental carpules. Our team incorporated tactile details that would be fun and recognizable for kids, such as repainted tire swings suspended from the ceilings and a reception desk covered in tiles made from skateboard decks. And reclaimed details give the space a slightly rustic, campy feel, perfectly in keeping with the space’s lakeside location.

    Since Camp Smile was to be branded as a fun getaway for kids, rather than a boring or scary routine dental visit, a sense of adventure needed to be present in the design. The clients wanted some unique, super-customized pieces that would be showstoppers in the new space to draw kids’ attention at every turn, such as a Mason jar art installation, stadium seating in the waiting room, and a bus for young kids to climb. The surround to a sink is covered in paint-can lids, bringing a shock of color to the space. Graffiti-inspired art by local youth-outreach organization Juxtaposition covers the walls, bringing a positive community message to the office. The space gets a blast of energy from dynamic color and pattern, and even the open ceiling, with its exposed pipes and ductwork, serves as a distraction for nervous patients as they sit through their exams.

    Design: Shea, Inc.
    Photography: Travis Anderson Photo