Antimicrobial Copper

University Medical Center Groningen, Netherlands

Opened in November 2010, the University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG) Hospital's Cancer Center in Groningen, the Netherlands, has been fitted throughout with door handles made from bronze - an alloy of copper benefitting from its antimicrobial properties. It was the very first Dutch facility to have implemented antimicrobial copper, leading the way in infection prevention.

The idea of using bronze door handles in the Cancer Center came about after a conversation between AG Architects - the practice responsible for the centre's interior design - and FSB.  Anouk Vermeulen from AG Architects explains the decision:

"The door fittings were included in the design from the beginning of the entire process, not only because of their antimicrobial effect, but also from the point of view of aesthetics.  Our first criteria was to find a door handle with natural characteristics. FSB drew our attention to the 1163 product line.  Once I'd seen the door handle and heard about its antimicrobial properties, nobody else took much convincing.  This handle is the ideal combination of design and - of paramount importance for a hospital - hygiene."


The theme chosen for the interior design is one of tranquillity, nature and connection, and these are reflected in the layout, colour, custom-made furniture and materials used. For example, specially impregnated bamboo veneer has been chosen for furniture and table-tops to help bring the user into contact with real, natural materials.

Anouk Vermeulen sees an important role for the bronze door fittings within this whole: "Bronze has a special and completely unique character, which is well-reflected in the new interior.  The material radiates calm and confidence."

The natural elements in the interior design are part of a vision created by structural architects KuiperCompagnons.  In developing the structural and vision plan, the Rotterdam firm based itself around a sustainable, urban development process.  This means that factors such as multiple land use and the fact that the UMCG is part of the city of Groningen and is therefore easily accessible by various public transport networks were taken into account.


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