Design Prescription: The Hospital Bed

Reimagining the bane of every patient’s existence.

If you spend any time at all in the hospital, you quickly realize that the bed you’re confined to needs serious rethinking. It’s a hideous contraption so burdened with functional requirements that nearly all of its healing properties have been systematically stripped away. To compound the misery, today’s hospital bed doesn’t perform particularly well either—it’s cumbersome, uncomfortable (you’d think better mattresses would be an easy institutional fix), and ugly.

We asked four teams to redesign the standard hospital bed, taking into account patient comfort, functionality, and aesthetics. The range of designers we approached was deliberately broad: a Houston-based outfit specializing in space, a multidisciplinary New York firm known for high-profile restaurants and cultural assignments, a San Francisco-based creative collective, and a Brooklyn furniture designer. Our hope is that these ideas will help health-care designers look at the problem with a fresh set of eyes.

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