A hospital visit is never fun. But cheerful design can make the experience less stressful, especially for children and their families.
That was one guiding principle behind the interiors of the new Pediatric Ward of Hospital São João in Porto, Portugal. In one section of the new facility, local architect ARG Studio designed a 3,800-square-foot (350-square-meter) multiroom leisure area for young people to play and relax between treatments.
The Pediatric Ward serves toddlers through teenagers, so the configuration and features of every space, from the library to the study hall to the gym and play rooms, had to account for young people of all ages. Each area has a different monochrome color scheme to create a serene ambiance that’s playful but mature enough to appeal to older patients.
To move staff, children, and caretakers through the space, ARG Studio worked with Lisbon-based artist Francisca Ramalho to rethink the typical, sterile hospital hallway.
Ramalho rendered a stylized 3D kite over the reception desk that morphs into a 2D illustration as it snakes around corridors to guide circulation and sustain the lively atmosphere of the leisure areas.
The kite is both a graphical flourish and the representation of the urge to fly high and carefree above the suffering and pain children may experience during their treatment.