Finding A Multi-Sensory Oasis Where You’d Least Expect It
After an expansion was funded for Nationwide Children’s in Columbus, Ohio, plans were designed for a lightly themed lobby space that provided a much-needed respite for hospital staff, visitors, and patients. With the consideration of a dust-free install and no interruptions to surrounding hospital operations, LF Studios was chosen to fabricate the space and create a natural environment where visitors and employees could relax for a moment.
A visual and aural style was selected to compliment the clean look of a hospital while introducing organic shapes and sounds to disrupt the usual geometric shapes of building spaces.
The design intent was to create a translucently themed environment; the lobby needed to be recognizable and function as a hospital lobby, but the theming needed to provide a sensory break for those passing through the area so they could choose to escape in the forest bubble for a few moments.
What We Built
Tall trees grew out of the floors and reached a height of 32 feet while forest murals filled the walls. Sculptures of forest animals were hidden around the space, waiting to be found by curious visitors. Tunnels and scenes hidden in knotholes encouraged exploration of the space and cuckoo clocks announced the passing of each hour. A giant mushroom was filled with lighting effects that chase visitors as they run around its base.
Each hospital floor included themed shadow boxes in the walls, reflecting the forest setting of the lobby below. The parking garages used giant acorns in the same style as the lobby trees to create bollards that hinted to what visitors would soon discover.
Finding the right balance and style of theming was key to creating a translucently themed experience that intersected with the traditional hospital setting without interfering with its function. Full wall murals supplement the visual style and deepen the experience alongside the placement of dimensional elements for visitors to explore.
Throughout the space, “6D” dimensional audio was added to immerse visitors in a calm forest environment as they hear birds 30 feet above them and small animal friends scurrying in the leaves around them.
Visitors can escape to a relaxing space within the walls of a hospital that marries the function of a lobby with the tranquility of a forest.