2017 Winners

Dr. Carlos J. Huerta, The Dental Boutique, New York, NY

Best New Construction Winner: The Dental Boutique, New York, New York

Contractor: Gonzalo Garcia, Phoenix Interiors, Spotswood; New Jersey Architect: Mark Teichman, Aberdeen, New Jersey;
Interior Design: Josh Ingmire and Kristina Albaugh, Hundred Mile, Rhineback, New York;
?Equipment Designer: John Surma, Patterson Dental, Totowa, New Jersey;
Photography by Matt Furman

PABLO PICASSO once described the process of making art as “washing the dust of daily life off our souls.” Dr. Carlos J. Huerta, as much an artist with dentistry as Picasso was with paint or clay, uses artwork to “elevate the overall patient experience and ease anxiety,” as he puts it.

His 1,239-square-foot Manhattan practice, the Dental Boutique, certainly delivers. The centerpiece is the striking 30-shelf art installation of dental casts, visible through the wide glass door at the practice’s entrance. “Each is a cast of one of my friends in silver or gold, surrounding my own dental cast encrusted in Swarovski crystals,” Dr. Huerta says. The “waiting lounge,” as he calls it, is chockablock with compelling pieces as well, notably a life-size pig by the Dutch design company Moooi.

Best New Construction Winner: The Dental Boutique, New York, New York

Construction took just 16 weeks, although drafting technical drawings and securing necessary permits extended the project’s total duration to nine months, right on budget at $382,000. Dr. Huerta’s designers suggested white as the grounding motif color throughout. “It was extremely scared of the sterility of too much white, but they looked beyond the color and analyzed the elements already present,” he says. “They knew it would end up a warm, inviting environment.”

So it has: How many dental practices around the country have designer furniture, an iPad bar and a refreshment station serving water, espresso, and even wine? Likewise in the operatories, where a lack of obtrusive wiring and other hear helps keep visitors’ anxiety at bay. “The lack of bracket tables and cuspidors reduces the amount of equipment encroaching on patient’s personal space, allowing or a less claustrophobic visit,” he says.

Best New Construction Winner: The Dental Boutique, New York, New York

In plain sight, meanwhile, is the sterilization center, centrally located both to ease congestion and foot traffic and give patients a reminder of the practice’s overall cleanliness and professionalism – attributes not remotely compromised by the daily presence of Luna, Dr. Huerta’s 2-year-old spaniel mix, who offers pet therapy to anyone who desires it.

The bottom line: In the heart of bustling New York City (for more of Dr. Huerta’s Gotham, see “He’ll Take Manhattan,” page 84), the Dental Boutique is an oasis of calm. “Patients enjoy the same elements we enjoy,” he says of himself and his staff: the relaxation, the comfort and the art, still doing Picasso’s soul-cleansing work.


“MAKING SURE A CONCEPT IS IN MIND FROM THE BEGINNING IS IMPORTANT TO ENSURE A PROJECT’S CONTINUITY. Early research on equipment will help plan the placement regarding plumbing, electrical and network cabling, as well as operatory layout and size. Check in frequently with the whole team, and keep track of all materials necessary throughout the project.”