Features

Aug
2007

A Children’s Place

Medford Optical

Though the official name—Medford Optical at Waltham—is a bit weighty, there’s nothing heavy about the design and execution of this whimsical dispensary located within the walls of the ophthalmology department at Children’s Hospital Boston at Waltham.

The dispensary, built from the ground up with a budget of just $30,000 and outfitted with displays from Fashion Optical, speaks directly to kids and their parents with color, shapes and unique lighting. “Medford Optical has long had a reputation for being the place for children’s eyewear,” says owner Dana Cohen. “So when Children’s Hospital opened up bidding for a new dispensary, it felt like a good match.”

Just four months old, the new dispensary was designed to maximize its 640 square feet of retail space. Working in conjunction with the architect who designed the hospital’s ophthalmology department and Lori Estrada, designer for Fashion Optical, Cohen was able to realize his dream of an efficient and enlightened space where families and eyecare professionals can work together. “We wanted to make it a good experience for the parents as well as the child,” he explains. “And I think we’ve succeeded in giving them that little something extra.”

When expressing his ideas to Fashion Optical, Cohen stressed that he wanted displays that could be independently browsed by children as young as four years old. He also wanted the dispensary to support working with four to five families at one time. As a result, displays were lowered to a kid’s eye level, and mirrors were placed between each cabinet to create independent areas where kids and their families can try on frames and work with an optician more privately than if there was simply one large mirror for everyone to share
.

“We also used a lot of color to appeal to children and create a fun atmosphere,” adds Cohen. The dispensary entrance flows into a semi-circle and moves in a left-to-right pattern. Cabinet edges are rounded and a bright orange oval-shaped soffit in the center of the room draws the eye up and extends the space. A bright robin’s egg blue wall behind the desk, angles in to a green wall, which bumps up to a yellow wall. The frame displays were all executed in different colors and the dispensing desk is in the shape of a half-moon.

The result of all this color and light is an interior that appeals to children, but isn’t so child-like that adults are turned off or turned away by the décor. “We keep about 800 frames on display,” says Cohen. “Six hundred of those are pediatric, but at least 200 are adult.” Brands include Flexon by Nike, Fisher Price by ClearVision, Coach, Nine West and Silhouette.

Cohen credits Fashion Optical with providing the guidance and expertise to keep the project on point and on time. “This is the second store they’ve done for me and I cannot say enough good things about them. They installed this dispensary in one day, from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., and we were ready to go. It was a turnkey operation.” And while this is the first time Children’s Hospital’s ophthalmology department has had a dispensary on site, Cohen believes there is a lot of growth potential here. “Word is just beginning to spread.”

 

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