Designing a squat practice – dreams of a brighter future

Designing a squat practice – dreams of a brighter future

Enkeleda and Robert Kadiu share the process of designing their new beginnings by opening squat practice, Novo Dental.

Multiple challenges have marked Enkeleda Kadiu’s path in dentistry, but she hasn’t allowed them to deter her from becoming a dentist. Rather than hindrances, they have only propelled her forward, fuelling her determination to fulfil her dream. 

Today, as the proud owner of Novo Dental, a thriving practice in a leafy suburb in north London, she is witnessing the results of this perseverance. It is a new chapter marked by burgeoning success, growth and the promise of fresh prospects.

An unconventional journey

Her journey wasn’t conventional. Starting as a dental nurse at 16, she gradually navigated her path, driven by a genuine desire to excel in her field. Her vision was clear: to create a dental practice where patient care, innovation and comfort converge seamlessly.

‘I worked as a dental nurse from the age of 16, and at 18, after my A levels, I applied for dental school but unfortunately didn’t get a place. Queen Mary University offered me an alternative degree to study dental materials and then apply again for dentistry after three years. This time, I did get a place and was over the moon. I couldn’t believe I managed to get where I wanted to be. Five years later, I was a fully qualified dentist.’ 

She completed her VT and then applied for a restorative senior house office role at King’s College Hospital. During this time, she also passed the Royal College of Surgeons exams. She then worked as an associate at a mixed practice, adding to her skillset by undertaking numerous courses.

‘I was at the same practice for seven years, but then the time came when clinically more confident in doing more complex dentistry, I felt ready and confident to go into my next adventure – owning a dental practice.’

Opening Novo Dental

Enkeleda (or Dr Leda, as she is known to her patients) and her husband Robert opened Novo Dental in a former Barclays Bank in Winchmore Hill earlier this year. 

Robert has extensive experience in construction management. His portfolio boasts some remarkable feats, including recreating 60 critical care units and refurbishing 14 operating theatres for King’s College Hospital and the project management of various Crossrail projects. This provided a solid build foundation for their venture. 

Having worked in a small dental practice in Notting Hill Gate for years, Leda’s experience there profoundly influenced her vision. She came to prioritise natural light and spaciousness as essential elements for the design of her envisioned new dental practice.

She explains: ‘I always wanted to set up a squat to make it my own. I could fit it out how I wanted it, choose my own dental chairs, and pick my own staff to work with. That’s where the practice’s name comes from – in Latin Novo means ‘make something new’. Knowing Robert’s ability to build something beautiful and high-spec, we started looking for sites. I only had two requests: one, it must be big enough to create three surgeries, and two, it must have abundant natural light.

‘When this space came up, I could see myself happy with one of my surgery walls being floor-to-ceiling glass. I also ensured I had plenty of space when we planned the rooms’ sizes. The need for natural light and space was my prime requirement.’

The design process

Robert picks up the story: ‘We began the search for the premises in September 2022 and found the right place in April 2023. When we decided on our place, we offered the asking price and got to move quickly. We always looked at the bigger picture other than the small negotiations at the start, as we feared this could lead to losing out to other interested parties and having to start again. It was important to show commitment and leadership from the first meeting and be confident about our plan. Landlords like assurances.’

The lease was signed in August 2023, and the doors opened in February 2024. It was a meticulously planned six-month journey. Collaborating with Mercia Dental, they ensured seamless integration of specialist dental equipment, bypassing the need for third-party architects and engineers to streamline the process and cut costs significantly.

Robert explains: ‘The pre-planning/preconstruction stage is the most crucial part of a project, and it was a joint venture between Paul Stevenson of Mercia Dental and myself. After brainstorming and value engineering meetings with Paul, we created a construction design drawing. We saved around £40k by avoiding third-party architects and mechanical and electrical engineers. Paul is very knowledgeable and results-driven and was there for us every step of the way.’

Patient experience

Novo Dental’s primary asset is its emphasis on natural light. Leda’s insistence on its abundance shaped the design process, creating a space that fosters positivity and tranquility. The result is an environment where patients feel welcomed and relaxed, making their dental experience more pleasant.

Robert says: ‘There is no right or wrong design. We just thought about what was right for us and how to create a patient flow without clashes. I would advise that when the design is ready and you are happy with it, try not to change it as it can be costly.’

With Robert’s expertise in construction planning and Leda’s eye for detail, every aspect was carefully considered. The results are stunning. Inspired by Leda’s jewellery preferences, Novo Dental is testimony to her influences. 

‘I wanted something clean and sophisticated. I am a big fan of gold and pearls, so we went for marble and gold. All the surgeries have marble and gold worktops, and the reception area has marble and gold features.’

Creating ambience

They conceptualised three distinct surgeries: the principal’s marble room, the specialist forest room, and the hygiene and therapy tropical room. Each has its unique ambience.

‘For the surgeries, I wanted to avoid using surgical or dental words, so each room has a feature. The marble room is my room with marble and gold features; the forest room is the specialist room, which has a green chair with a forest feature wall; and the hygiene and therapy room is called the tropical room and has a tropical feature wall and ceiling light.

‘We purchased three of Belmont’s contemporary Eurus S6 chairs because I wanted to work with chairs with a folding leg rest. It’s nice to talk to patients face to face at the same eye level without them feeling like you’re talking over them. The operating table swinging over is a game changer for my patients. When they walk in, they don’t see any instruments, and they don’t see my dental nurse clearing out the table. I love it.’

For Robert, a dental practice may have been a small project. Still, the couple has achieved their dream thanks to Mercia Dental’s thoughtful and practical application of Leda’s intuitive interior design. She finds immense satisfaction in the practice’s functionality, equipped with state-of-the-art tools like OPG/CBCT scanners and intraoral cameras, enabling her to deliver high-end care. Patients are enamoured by the experience and impressed by the innovation and personalised attention they receive. 

‘Every time I walk into work, I feel amazing knowing what Robert and I have built together. The patients love how I carry out their examinations. They’d never seen something like this before. They’re impressed, and I am happy because I’m working with everything I need to work at the standard I am happy with.’

For more information about Belmont dental chairs, visit

For more information about Novo Dental Practice, visit

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