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.
Jim Pierce, owner, Bio Aesthetics Dental Studio
"At the end of the day, I don't want my employees to feel like they've run a marathon," says Jim Pierce, owner of Bio Aesthetics Dental Studio in Grand Junction, Colorado, which opened in January. So when Pierce was designing his 1,300-sq.-ft. laboratory, he created a logical, efficient layout for the porcelain, casting and ceramics departments so his three employees don't have to backtrack during the fabrication process.
Open and roomy, the layout also lends itself to a close-knit staff. "We like the camaraderie that comes with a small group of people. We really feel like a cohesive team," says Pierce.
Since opening the lab, Pierce has felt a positive effect on his attitude and his work. "It's a place I actually look forward to going in the morning," he says. "I feel like my lab has found a permanent home."
Pierce designed the lab with a natural, esthetic look in mind. He custom designed the beautiful travertine countertops and complemented them with spalted maple flooring for an earth-toned environment. "Most of us spend more time at the lab than we spend at home," he explains. "I want it to be a place where we really enjoy working."
Bio Aesthetics benefits from a lot of natural sunlight. One side of the laboratory is almost entirely comprised of five-foot windows and the building contains two skylights. Often, the laboratory saves energy costs by turning on only the track lights above the benches; at times, the lab doesn't need to turn on any lights at all.
Creating an ergonomic and efficient laboratory was one of Pierce's main goals; he accomplished this with kitchen-height countertops and chairs, which allow technicians to maintain better posture, according to Pierce.
The laboratory also features L-shaped workstations, allowing employees to move quickly from one station to the next. Bio Aesthetics' model room, casting area and pressing area are also within a chair roll of each other, allowing for a streamlined fabrication process. "I wanted to avoid people running around wasting energy," says Pierce. "Everything in the lab has a logical flow to it."
For more design ideas: Laboratory Oasis in Urban Jungle