Many laboratories create esthetic restorations, but some owners and their teams are lucky enough to work in facilities that are as beautiful as the work they create. In this second installment of LMT's Laboratory Showcase series, we debunk the myth that bigger is better, profiling two labs whose ergonomic design maximizes a small amount of space.
Larry Passaro, owner, and Dana Passaro, vice president of operations, New Dent Dental Studio
In midtown Manhattan, a place known for tight spaces, Larry Passaro has created his own laboratory oasis along with his daughter Dana, whom Passaro credits for helping the lab run smoothly. In March 2008, Passaro and his 14-person staff moved into the seventh floor of a newly renovated building not far from the Empire State Building. Working with the building contractor, Passaro transformed the empty 2,000-sq.-ft space into an open and airy facility. For instance, the laboratory features lots of interior glass windows instead of solid walls to create an open feel. "The glass makes the lab appear larger and, from any department, you can see the entire lab," says Passaro. "I feel like we're maximizing our square footage."
One side of the laboratory has floor-to-ceiling windows, allowing natural light to stream in. The facility is furnished with Erio benches, which Passaro chose for their space-saving design. "Everything is all-in-one--the workstations have suction units, high-speed handpiece connections and lighting all built in," he says. "We don't need to worry about extra cords and plugs running across the floor."
The floor beneath all workstations is carpeted, allowing for more forgiveness if a technician drops a restoration, while high-traffic areas--like the entrance and lunch area--feature hardwood flooring.
Passaro's office is in the center of the laboratory and the space also functions as a staff demonstration area and shade-taking room. "Patients love to watch the lab in action," he says. "It helps them understand the type of work we do and feel more confident about what's going in their mouths." He's also proud to show off his new facility to clients and feels the new lab better suits his goals. "I'm looking to attract high-end dentists and my facility now mirrors that objective," says Passaro.
For more design ideas: Open Space for Close-Knit Staff