Children Journey to the Operating Theatre Through a Magical Forest

Jason Bruges Studio's interactive installation at Great Ormond Street features jumping rabbits and scurrying hedgehogs.


Jason Bruges says the person walking down the corridor becomes 'the conductor of the piece'

The journey to the operating theatre is rarely a pleasant one. The squeak of trolley wheels on linoleum, the glare of fluorescent lights, the smell of disinfectant in the air. But a new installation at Great Ormond Street children's hospital has transformed this clinical experience into something close to drifting through a magical glade.

The Nature Trail is a project by lighting designer Jason Bruges, which has turned the otherwise nondescript corridor route from ward to surgery into an adventure through a forest, complete with glimpses of glowing animals snatched through the trees.

The interactive installation, designed to distract children from what awaits, is formed from LED panels integrated behind graphic wallpaper, which extends down both sides of the 50m stretch of corridor. Motion sensors detect the presence of visitors and patients, activating the screens to display silhouettes of rabbits and running horses, scurrying hedgehogs and deer meandering through the woodland.

"The idea came from remembering walks in my childhood," says Bruges. "I loved spotting and following things, those stolen glances and glimpses, the excitement of stopping at hides. I was trying to recreate this with the idea of digital lookout points along the corridor."

The artwork includes 70 LED panels, with 72,000 LEDs in total, which are embedded into the wall at various heights in order to be accessible to varying eye levels of the patients – aged newborn to 16 – and the different viewpoints from wheelchairs and beds.

"Walking down the corridor, you become the conductor of the piece," says Bruges, "driving waves of activity through the forest." The different animals were all modelled in 3D, before being translated into low resolution for the displays, giving them a low-fi aesthetic that recalls the pixelated forms of computer game characters. The dot-matrix resolution of the displays is then echoed in the half-tone pattern of the trees printed on the wallpaper.

"The benefit of taking this kind of approach to distraction is a really positive experience for children and their families," says Natalie Robinson, deputy director of redevelopment at the hospital. The scheme has already had such a positive effect on patients that it is being extended across the rest of the walls by 2017.


Source: The Guardian



Children Journey to the Operating Theatre Through a Magical Forest

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The Operating Theatre Journal, OTJ, is published monthly and distributed to every hospital operating theatre department in the UK. The distribution includes both the National Health Service and the Private Sector.

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