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Design for healing in paediatric hospitals


Product and interior design students from the IED Barcelona Higher School of Design have presented new ways of integrating design in paediatric hospitals, seeking to improve patients’ wellbeing. The proposal involved thinking up products, furniture, accessories, spaces or services and their requirements in terms of usability, atmosphere, lights and emotional, functional and aesthetic aspects.

To understand the needs of users in such environments, the students interviewed patients, their relatives and internal personnel at Hospital Sant Joan de Déu and Hospital Clínic. During more than six months, the pupils produced different prototypes with the help of tutors and different experts. They were also able to test the proposals with different users to verify their effectiveness and improve their designs.

This resulted in projects that, thanks to new technologies, provide more human and welcoming interior spaces, involving virtual signage systems to facilitate arrival at consultation rooms, lighting devices that capture and transform the light and gastronomic virtual reality environments that recreate a culinary experience for patients whose treatment has made them lose their sense of taste.

In the sphere of product design, they proposed devices for defining pain, wireless systems to perform electrocardiograms in a fun way, and flexible, lightweight coils for MRI scans that transform the tests into a space adventure for the children.

The proposals appeal to the kids’ imagination to improve their experience in spaces and environments that can sometimes generate rejection, fear and confusion. The goal: to create designs for healing, to generate a positive attitude and a pleasant experience, all of which are factors that can undoubtedly contribute to the physical and emotional recovery of the young patients.


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