Category Archives: pediatric design

Makers of Monument Valley create game app for Alder Hey pediatric hospital

Digital studio UsTwo, well known for their gorgeous puzzle game Monument Valley, recently launched an augmented reality game app for pediatric patients at the Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England. Before hospitalization, they download and personalize the game, Alder Play. Then, as they make their way to different areas of the hospital,kids can go on augmented reality scavenger hunts, unlock dancing characters, and receive stickers for achievements like having a dressing changed or being scanned.”

Alder Hey Consultant Nik Barnes, who originated the idea of Alder Play, explained: “Our vision is to transform the experience of children in hospital. We wanted to distract patients during procedures, and reduce their worries and fears. Rewarding children following procedures and treatments was another vital element as it helps to encourage their progress. Rewards can be given for something as simple as having a dressing changed, to getting out of bed after an operation or having a scan.”

Designers spend time at the hospital to understand the culture and the architecture, so the app feels like a natural and bespoke part of the patient experience. Even the avatars were based on cartoon characters who appear in the hospital’s environment. In addition to the gamification aspect of play, the app also uses IBM’s Watson technology so that parents and kids can ask common questions and get real-time answers. The game is supported by NHS England and NHS Digital.

Via FastCoDesign



Jason Bruges Nature Trail installation for Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital

London based lighting designer Jason Bruges created the above interactive installation, made with over 72,000 LED lights embedded in a custom printed hospital-grade wallpaper, for a 165 ft long corridor leading to the operating rooms at the Great Ormond Street Children’s Hospital.

From Bruges’s website:

“The brief was to design and install a distraction artwork helping to create a calming yet engaging route that culminates in the patient’s arrival at the anesthetic room. Inspiration came from the idea of viewing the patient journey as a ‘Nature Trail’, where the hospital walls become the natural canvas, with digital look out points that reveal the various ‘forest creatures’, including horses, deer, hedgehogs, birds and frogs, to the passerby…. The LED panels are embedded into the wall surface at various heights in order to be accessible to the eye levels and positions of patients traveling along the corridors. Across these digital surfaces abstracted ‘animal movements’ are recreated as interactive animated patterns of light which reveal themselves through the trees & foliage of the forest.”

Royal Children’s Hospital Melbourne


Uk Design Website Adelto has a stunning slideshow of design details at The Royal Children’s Hospital in Melbourne. 

Melbourne’s new $1 billion (Aus) Royal Children’s Hospital,  unveiled by Queen Elizabeth II was Designed in a joint venture between Billard Leece Partnership and Bates Smart Architects (BLBS), with US-based HKS as international advisors. The RCH received the ‘International Interior Design Award’ at the 2012 Emirates Glass LEAF Awards, which took place during this year’s London Design Festival.


BrittaBritta, Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital, Gothenburg

Swedish design firm BrittaBritta dreamed up these jungle themed exam rooms for the emergency department at Queen Silvia Children’s Hospital, in Gothenburg, Sweden. They were unveiled last month. The designers explain:

A real dream project! – To get to work with children as a customer… to give a more positive experience for the parents and children visiting these stressful environments.  Children’s Hospital has previously worked with a jungle theme in the decoration of the department. This took the form of photographs of animals from the jungle on the walls and associated narrative text about the species. Our proposal was also in the same spirit but takes it one step further! (Translated from Swedish by Google Translate)

One step further indeed. The beauty of pediatric projects is that a designer can be as wildly imaginative as a child. It’s worth noting that this design in particular is a fanciful decor that will appeal to both six year olds and sixteen year olds, not an easy balance to strike.

[via Offecct blog ]

Phoenix Children’s Hospital

The new tower at the Phoenix Children’s Hospital successfully avoids the typical hospital typology in favor of…an aesthetic I’m going to call the 1990s cruise ship aesthetic! The architects explain their aim was to evoke a “blooming desert flower.” No matter the associations, it’s a magical, spirited, and unique space designed by the firm HKS, a Dallas based powerhouse for medical architecture. Each floor has an animal that ‘sponsors’ it and a unique color scheme – enhancing wayfinding and adding to the playful atmosphere. Just how do these floors stack up? The lower level =  labs, a pharmacy, information technology, and storage for equipment. First floor = imaging, patient registry, outpatient pharmacy, a kitchen/restaurant, a 24-hour café, and administrative offices. The second floor =  ambulatory clinics. The third floor =  support functions, family spaces, and a rooftop garden. The fourth floor = inpatient procedures. The fifth floor and above are patient rooms. The patient rooms are each arranged with two groups of 24 single occupancy rooms. The elevator lobbies that people encounter as they move between floors each feature exterior views, a bronze animal sculpture, and a digital photographic wallcovering of a plant or nature scene. Like this:

A wonderful virtual tour is available on the Hospital’s website here. The project was featured on the March 2011 cover of Healthcare Design Magazine. In the accompanying article,  Sandra Miller, the HKS Interior Designer overseeing the interiors explains:

One of our directives was to avoid looking childish, which is one of the major challenges in a pediatric facility. The children treated here range in age from newborns to 20 years old, so it doesn’t make sense to only target the 5-to-8 year olds.  We established the look of the tower through color and artwork, and incorporating interactive positive distractions within the building

Art plays an important role in the concept. There are magnetic marker boards and each patient has an area on the wall outside of their room to display his or her own artwork, allowing them to personalize their own space. Miller explains that “the goal was to make each patient room like their own individual ‘front door’ into their world.” The hospital’s Center for Cancer and Blood Disorders also runs a website that allows shoppers to purchase original artwork or note cards featuring art by patients, with all funds going towards the hospital. You can see the spaces for patient artwork in the background here:

The dramatic lighting scheme throughout the building was overseen by lighting designer Scott Older with Philips Color Kinetics. The lighting is truly transformative in the above images, all taken after dark and perhaps ran through a photoshop filter or two. During the day the hospital looks a bit more…like a hospital, as you can see in this video from Phoenix news chanel abc 15:

(All Images HOK via modxdesign)




ALL CITY Health: Graffiti 207/Pediatrics 2000

In 2004, urban-art (graffiti) gallerist Hugo Martine and pediatrician Juan Tapia, MD teamed up to open ALL CITY, a one-of-a-kind graffiti art gallery pediatrician hybrid in New York City called Graffiti 207. Visuals and in-depth information on this is scarce but it’s too interesting to ignore so the e-sleuthing I’ve done will need to suffice. Nothing on the website appears to have been touched since 2009.  From the mission statement, we can glean ALL CITY is/was a:

“Network of artists, designers and medical practitioners to create and run coordinated arts and health programs in New York City. Our new initiative, ALL CITY Health: Healing Communities through Art and Medicine, will fully integrate art into pediatric practice to empower children and families to live healthier lives. ALL CITY Health will provide coordinated arts and medical programs that address the social challenges confronting at-risk urban youth and their families.”

The two founders spearheaded a two million dollar project to turn an old ballroom into an art gallery/pediatric care facility on 207th Steet that both served the needs of its community and strove to playfully fit its overall aesthetic. While ALL CITY Health in it’s original format seems to be defunct, Dr. Tapia’s pediatric practice, Pediatrics 2000, is definitely thriving with two locations and ten medical staff. One of these locations is still the ALL CITY facility on 207th Street. The front window of the waiting room is an urban playground of sorts, and each interior room has its own theme. Artists were given freedom do to as they pleased, but were told their creations couldn’t be aggressive or scary, according to a 2004 New York Times article on the project. The facility was designed to:

“Challenge of the traditional medical clinic design model. The clinic and gallery space boast a bold color palette, implementing graffiti art to transform the building into a vibrant state-of-the-art medical facility and tri-level art gallery” all the while striving to ” democratize art and challenge common perceptions of art appreciation as an activity exclusive to the wealthy”

It’s such an incredible, unique project I wish that it was better documented online and that there was a bit more information about where the relatively large budget came from (and why ALL CITY no longer appears to be active). Nevertheless its pretty inspiring that these two teamed up to create such a special health space for a community.

Emma Children’s Hosptial, Amsterdam

Interior design firm OPERA Amsterdam was responsible for re-designing part of The Emma Children’s hospital in Amsterdam. Conceptually, the firm organized the space around the following idea:

The ‘parade,’ the main corridor that runs through the hospital much like a high street through a large town, plays an important part in the design. A high street leads off to all the main public spaces in a town: the town square, the zoo, the park, the sports fields, the theater… but it also leads home and ultimately to the child’s bedroom. OPERA took the metaphor of the high street as the guiding principle for a coherent design. In addition, they created the option of variation by introducing a clever and sophisticated colour scheme that is slightly different in each area. Artists from around the world were asked to create illustrations to fit in with the interior design for the Parade.

The giant rainforest mural below is rumored to have been printed using Lenticular printing, making the image change as the viewer shifts round it in space. The video below demonstrates the magic of Lenticular printing – unfortunately I couldn’t find images with the Emma Children’s Hosptial mural moving. The arts and health non-profit I interned at last summer was in negotiations with a Lenticular printer as well, and the technique is a great possibility for keeping images in healthcare spaces surprising and dynamic.