creativity · design · environment · happiness · health · play

15 Artists Collaborate To Make London Children’s Hospital Cozier For Kids | Bored Panda

Last year I had a stay at a local hospital. I and the people who came to visit me all found the place hard to navigate (we all got lost more than once), and I found parts of it unfriendly and slightly claustrophobic, and not very warming or healing. They had some nondescript pictures on the walls, and that was the only way I could find to navigate my way out of the maze of white and linoleum.

It doesn’t have to be this way.

The sights, sounds and smells of a hospital can make it a terrifying place, especially for children, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Vital Arts, a British arts organization in charge of introducing art to Britain’s hospitals, had 15 artists collaborate to turn the interior of London Royal Children’s Hospital into as fun and colorful a place as a hospital can be.

Despite being limited by the fact that hospital environments need to be easy to clean, the artists were still able to use vinyl, ceramics, wood and even rugs to liven up these hospitals, each approaching the wards they decorated with their own unique style.

via 15 Artists Collaborate To Make London Children’s Hospital Cozier For Kids | Bored Panda.

The author Dovas comments that they wish it wasn’t just for kids. It really can be for everyone. Even something as simple as bright colors can be helpful in orienting patients and helping them feel better.

The nurses who helped me all commented about needing to get outside and get away from the sterile white. I think the curtain example illustrates the value of this beautifully:

“A seminal moment for me was when a three-year-old girl stopped crying the moment she saw the curtains, pointing excitedly to the hidden cats and rabbits. That’s when I knew my design had worked”

It is possible to have art and playfulness in sterile hospitals, as part of the healing process. Plus adding some joviality, like staying in the “monkey room” can make a somewhat painful situation seem less heavy.

Maintenance on some of these installations and art pieces may be higher, but if it leads to faster recovery and shorter hospitals stays, which this kind of enrichment has been found to do, then it is a worthy investment.

architecture · design · environment · happiness · health · mental health · Nature · psychology

Dennis Bracale’s Garden Compositions

Creating organic, peaceful spaces can be arguably one of the most powerful, important acts for human wellness, both physically and mentally. These gardens are also peaceful just to look at, even if you can’t experience them firsthand.


“It took me two years to find the stones for this project,” says Dennis Bracale, a landscape designer based on Mount Desert Island, Maine, while giving a lecture at his alma mater, the University of Virginia. Image after image showcased Bracale’s work on private gardens. The talk showed the audience the artistic heights landscape architecture can achieve when time and monetary constraints aren’t an issue.

The crux of Bracale’s philosophy is an image of a stone Buddha with a carved flowing robe framed by two stones, one of which accents the robes with its own layered flow pattern. That philosophy is the skillful combining of rough nature (found objects made through geologic and biologic processes) with refined nature (objects modified through craft) to create meditative spaces.

With a client base primarily on Mount Desert Island, Bracale knows his fellow islanders move to and stay on the island for the…

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behavior · environment · happiness · health · mental health · Nature

The healing effects of forests, gardens, greenery

Hopetoun Falls, Beech Forest, near Otway Natio...
Visiting natural environments even for a short time can be beneficial for one's health. Image via Wikipedia

After spending some time this weekend in my garden, lounging in the dappled sunlight, it reminded me just how powerful nature is to rejuvenate and heal both physically and emotionally.

Many studies show that after stressful or concentration-demanding situations, people recover faster and better in natural environments than in urban settings. Blood pressure, heart rate, muscle tension and the level of “stress hormones” all decrease faster in natural settings. Depression, anger and aggressiveness are reduced in green environments and ADHD symptoms in children reduce when they play in green settings.

via The healing effects of forests.

So remember the next time you’re stressed, just staring at a house plant can help destress you.

architecture · behavior · emotion · health

New WA hospitals are more open, less foreboding –

St. Elizabeth Hospital
Old hospital style: not very healing. Image by reallyboring via Flickr

Getting sick and not feeling well is scary, so it’s good to see hospitals becoming more in-tune to the whole user experience. Here is one such case, with a new hospital opening up in Enumclaw, WA.

“The innovative designs at Swedish/Issaquah and St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw, like other new hospitals, include big windows that let in natural light, rooms with pullout couches for overnight visitors, and even hospital beds that ask patients questions in different languages…

…The design highlights food and spa and wellness products. The hospital opens into a five-story atrium surrounded by a mall, and its lobby includes a fireplace and a destination restaurant with a wood-burning oven.

The changes are driven in part by competition for patients with good insurance, the Seattle Times reported, Outpatient services, giving prime space to medical offices and centers that provide chemotherapy and radiology were emphasized.

The new St. Elizabeth in Enumclaw opened in February with beds programmed to provide information and to ask questions in 20 languages. For example, a bed might tell a patient in Spanish: “You have a tube in your throat to help you breathe.” The realization that critically ill patients may not speak English prompted the purchase.

St. Elizabeth and the new $365 million Swedish campus are part of a U.S. hospital building boom in suburbs and fast-growing communities that is now evident in urban areas as well.”

more via New WA hospitals are more open, less foreboding –

More research is also finding that people who have views of nature heal faster when they’re sick or recovering from surgery, so bring on the light, bring on the green!