One dentist designs his dream dental practice

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dental practice design

Dr Spiros Agapitos had a vision of a practice that draws inspiration from the cool, New York loft style. It’s nice when your vision becomes reality. By Frank Leggett

Running a successful, growing practice means that at some point the decision has to be made to either expand or relocate to larger premises. When Dr Spiros Agapitos started Dental Excellence in 2002, it was a one-chair clinic located in Mount Hawthorn, a trendy inner metropolitan Perth suburb. 

It grew steadily to a three-chair practice while remaining in the original location. Unfortunately, it soon became obvious that the business was essentially land locked. Dental Excellence had outgrown the original premises and there were no available tenancies next door. The hunt for a new location began.

When Dr Agapitos found an old community hall 300 metres from the original premises, he turned to the team at Medifit to help him renovate the building. It was a large freestanding building with plenty of room to convert it into a seven-chair practice.

“The original building, which has a four-metre-high ceiling, was built in the 1930s,” says Sam Koranis, Medifit’s managing director. “There was space for everything Spiros desired in his new practice—seven treatment rooms, a large waiting and reception area, a central steri and laboratory, and several offices for staff. There was even enough space to include a staff meeting and training room, and recovery rooms for patients.”

Getting the look

Undertaking the rebuild meant starting with a completely blank slate and Dr Agapitos had a clear vision of how he wanted his new practice to look. 

“I wanted to get away from what people normally perceive as a typical dental clinic,” he says. “I wanted something different and unique. My plan was for Dental Excellence to have an industrial warehouse, New York loft kind of feel. I wanted to introduce lots of raw brick, concrete and steel.”

The interior’s high ceilings gave the space a large voluminous feel, successfully aligning with the loft look. When existing walls were demolished, the bricks were cleaned and re-utilised for the reception and waiting areas. Dr Agapitos even took part in lugging a couple of thousand bricks around the site.

A metal pergola was added to the front of the building, reaching out towards the road. With a monumental feel, the striking pergola draws attention from people as they drive past.

Big reception

Dr Agapitos was well aware that the reception area is the hook of the business. This is where clients gain their first impression of the practice. Dental Excellence has a clean, sharp, industrial-inspired look that’s smoothly professional. While the former practice had a reception area of about three square metres, the new area is nine metres by three metres.

“At the bottom of the concrete reception desk is a rusted structural steel I-beam,” says Koranis. “We installed LED lighting along it to highlight the industrial elements. Certain walls have a highly polished, troweled concrete dado finish. It creates a textured uneven look but is very smooth to the touch.”

Over the reception desk are cascading pendant lights that add a welcoming warmth to the bare concrete walls. Down the hallways are large domed canopy lights, big enough to light the way from their position on the high ceiling. Aesthetically, these large lights are scaled to size in such a big space.

“When I found those lights, I immediately knew they would be perfect in the new building,” says Dr Agapitos. “They come from a warehouse in the Czech Republic. The electrician changed the fittings but they’re otherwise untouched.”

Time and money

Almost unbelievably, the build was completed on time and on budget. It helped that it was a standalone building with good access and no trade taking place. But, of course, renovating an old building is always going to throw up challenges and unexpected issues.

“At Medifit, we have a long relationship with our tradies and everyone works as a team,” says Koranis. “That continuity of trades is very important. We also prepare for contingencies to cover any anomalies that are revealed. I’m very proud of the way we utilised existing materials, making the build positive from a sustainability perspective. There’s nothing more sustainable than reusing old materials and repurposing them.”

Dental Excellence retains all the character of the original building while operating as a contemporary and professional practice. And it does this while looking very, very cool.

Award winner

In 2022, Dental Excellence won a Master Builders Western Australia Award for Best Building Fit-Out under $1.5 million. The practice was entered in the ‘Open’ category and the award judged by other builders.

“It’s very gratifying when our peers see merit in what we do,” says Koranis.

Dr Agapitos and his team have been operating out of the new practice for two years and there’s nothing about the building he would change. The flow of rooms works beautifully, and the look reflects the professionalism on offer. Presently, the practice has five surgeries in operation with two more ready to be fitted out as demand increases. Client response has been enthusiastically positive, and word of mouth recommendations are leading to more patients coming to the practice.

“I love the open space and high ceilings,” says Dr Agapitos. “As soon as you walk in, it just feels good. I’ve always believed it’s important to have a really nice working environment for your patients and also for your staff. We have room to grow and the environment where we spend most of our day is wonderful. The look of our practice definitely sets the expectation of our clients.”

Dental Excellence has reimagined what a dental practice can be. While its industrial look is contemporary and innovative, it’s also comfortable and welcoming for clients. Sam Koranis has been in the healthcare construction game at Medifit for over 20 years and been involved with hundreds of dental practice builds and fit-outs during this time.

“Dental Excellence is something special,” he says. “There’s nothing else like it in Australia.”   

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