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Design for Healing

Often times when building new hospitals, important design elements are overlooked in order to save money or because they think it can be done later. Design for Healing is an immersive exhibit to showcase how important it is to carefully execute the environment in hospitals. It is to show why it is a good investment for healthcare executives to consider the space in which people are usually there not because they want to but need to out of necessity. The exhibit's purpose is to feature the subject matter in a memorable experience instead of sitting around listening to another presentation on the subject. 

The Design for Healing exhibit will include an overview of three topics: psychology of color, the influence of nature, and the importance of lighting. It will fully immerse the viewer into the subject matter. The experience will include not only a walk-through experience, but takeaway cards/materials that will explain the topic more in depth. 

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01: Psychology of Color

Color is an influence on everything that seeps into the consciousness whether we know it or not. Psychology of color is especially prevalent in the healing process. Color can directly accelerate healing, lift spirits and calm nerves.  One of the most common mistakes is using the wrong colors, such as bright colors in areas where you shouldn’t use bright colors; for instance, in patient rooms, an accent wall somebody is going to be facing that’s too bold or too bright. You need to be cautious—not only about color in general, but about the kinds of colors you’re using and where you’re placing them, so they’re not distracting to people and they don’t make you agitated when you shouldn’t be.

To demonstrate these effects, the viewer will walk through the exhibit with LED light panels surrounding them on walls and ceiling. The light will gradually change throughout to a variety of colors on the color wheel. This effect will help the viewer experience the different effects that certain colors had on them.  Upon leaving, they will grab the 3 different paint chips that explain the psychology of red, blue, and browns in hospitals. 

02: Lighting Control

Over the years scientist have developed an understanding for the human body and how it operates on an actual clock, and it is important to make sure it is operating well. This is known as the circadian system, which is what keeps us in sync with the 24-hour day. It is important to develop lighting structures that are developed for the needs of this system. During the day our body needs good lighting, whether artificial or natural to help stay alert. Then as the day goes on lighting needs to lower intensity to represent night. In order for there to be a stable circadian rhythm lighting design needs to focus on intensity, duration, and color of the light during all times of the day. Overall this will cause less stressors on the body and the body will be able to sleep soundly, which is important for the healing process. 

In order to properly show this process, the viewer will walk through the exhibit to screens surrounding them. The light will gradually change over time to reflect the light cycle that is best for the circadian rhythm. This will reflect on the skin to help the onlooker to understand the true difference between the intensity and color that a light source can give off. When leaving they will take an etched clear acrylic piece to learn more details on what they experienced.

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03: Bringing the Outside In

Many researchers and practitioners state that nature therapy can have regenerative powers, improving mood and easing anxiety, stress, and depression. A study done by The Center for Health on Healing reports that 95% of people who walk through hospital gardens describe a therapeutic benefit from simply being in a garden. Contact with nature not only speeds patient healing, it also helps family members and hospital staffs more effectively deal with the stress of providing care. This in return enables them to better serve their recovering loved ones and patients.

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Check out the full project: Arnette Process Book

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