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Healing environment

Creating a spa-like, luxurious environment within a state-of-the-art cancer treatment center was the task New York architect Jeffrey Berman was met with when he was approached by a new client to help create the Farber Center for Radiation Oncology.

The sophistication of the EcoSmart 1800SS stainless steel firebox fit this brief perfectly, with the added benefit of becoming the inspiration behind a unique design concept.  

Working closely with Tanya Tohill-Farber, director of Marketing and Business Development and wife of the center’s founder, Dr. Leonard Farber, Jeffrey has created a space that welcomes patients rather than intimidates them.

“It is a rare privilege to work for a client with such a strong vision of how their project should look, feel and function,” says Jeffrey. “We were asked to design a living room -really a family space - in lieu of a waiting room, and a fireplace and hearth were very much in keeping with this concept.”

This is where the center brought in a personal touch to brilliant effect.

“Tanya was involved in the whole design process; in fact, it was her idea to bring the fireplace into the center to create a sense of warmth for the patients,” Dr Leonard Farber explains. “The EcoSmart firebox makes the room cosy and works with the natural elements in the room. Also, every patient that finishes their radiation treatment with us signs a rock and places it in the hearth. It is a way that they have an eternal bond and connection with us.”

The inclusion of the fire, signed rocks and stacked ceramic stone wall makes the patients feel at home by creating a soothing, welcoming, even healing environment. The natural elements of stone and fire, coupled with the rich timber hue of the hardwood floor and warm colour scheme, fulfill the client’s desire for a treatment facility that reduces the stress for patients undergoing life-saving treatment.

“We wanted the space to be very earthy, contemporary, and peaceful for our patients and staff alike,” says Dr Farber. “We are very thrilled with the overall design and look of the fireplace. We cannot imagine the room without it!”

For Jeffrey, the low maintenance, no-mess aspect of an EcoSmart Fire was the main drawcard.

“EcoSmart was chosen for its clean, modern style and its flexibility,” says Jeffrey. “Since the system does not require gas, flue, chimney or an electrical connection, the product met the tight city regulations for a fireplace in a commercial building. It was easy for the building management and the Fire Department to understand it and approve it.”

In addition, the fire proved a godsend during Superstorm Sandy in late 2012, when the hurricane knocked out electricity and the centralized heating couldn’t run.

“Our EcoSmart Fire was the only source of heating we could use during this time to ensure patients were able to keep warm – and the e-NRG bioethanol was delivered to us reliably throughout this emergency.”

Dr Leonard Farber, Founder

Jeffrey Berman, a healthcare architect for the last 30 years, was more than happy to execute the vision of a client who understood that cancer care is continuing care, and create an environment that is very much a part of the healing process.

“Once diagnosed, a patient forms a lifelong relationship for treatment and follow-up care,” says Jeffrey. “The Farber Center for Radiation Oncology doesn’t merely treat a disease; they treat the whole person.”