Architecture Heals: Sanofi’s Playroom for ChildrenHassan Anifowose
As architects we love seeing all kinds of designs coming to fruition, whether it’s new housing estates or recreational parks that will be enjoyed by the wider community.
Whilst every single project is important to us, the Chronos Studeos team was especially honoured to be commissioned to produce the architectural designs, 3D visualizations and oversee other aspects of the project, such as the choice of print of the wallpaper, for a hospital playroom which aims to improve or maintain the morale of children whose lives have been impacted by illness.
And so it was that, on February 27th 2014, we were thrilled to see the result of months of dedicated and intense work by ourselves and our external colleagues as The Lagos University Teaching Hospital (LUTH) Fun Centre was officially launched.
As you can see in the accompanying photo gallery, the hospital’s playroom has been overhauled as we married architectural design and innovation with the teachings of psychology as part of the Sanofi healthcare company’s ‘Healthy Children, Happy Children’ initiative that’s been rolled out across Africa.
It’s essential that, in our role as architects, we acknowledge and respect the fact that even the smallest changes in the design or layout of a room can have enormous impact on the mental well-being of its occupant.
From the outset we recognised the important role colour would play in promoting a happy and cheerful environment for the youngsters as they sought sanctuary in the playroom and, for a few moments at least, left behind all thought of the hospital wards and theatres.
One of our first proposals was that the walls of the new playroom be painted in vibrant colours, whilst still honouring the colour scheme and branding of Sanofi in grateful recognition on the part of the client of their invaluable support for this wonderful venture.
An entertainment wall was then installed which we decorated with instantly recognisable and therefore psychologically welcoming and ‘safe’ (in the eyes of the young patients) cartoon and TV characters. These ranged from traditional Disney characters such as Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, through to more modern children’s favourites like The Lion King, the Teletubbies, and Ben 10.
Throughout the design stage, we were keen to recognise the fragile state of the childrens’ health and so we aimed to include only the most welcoming and gentle elements of interior design.
Therefore, while louvred windows incorporating louvre blades and sliding glass aid daytime illumination, the playroom’s original, much starker, fluorescent lighting was replaced with soft lights housed in the plaster of paris clouds. Meanwhile, the carpets on which the children will play are purposely soft and anti-slip.
The Chronos Studeos team also opted to create a more effective play area, with the circulation zone pushed towards the entertainment wall.
Elsewhere, the proposed floor finish was vitrified floor tile. This was chosen because it has a long life span, something we deemed crucial considering the sheer number of children who will play on this floor in the years ahead.
As any parent knows, storage is essential for any playroom and so it was proposed that the room should incorporate shelving for toys and soft seats with storage underneath. The storage shelves are made of durable tongue-and-groove plastic for easy assembly.
With everything in place, the time came to hand over to Sanofi for the official launch at which we were reminded once more of the vitally important work being carried out across this continent to enhance the lives of hospitalised children.
At the heart of Sanofi‘s Pediatrics Initiative incorporating the ‘Healthy Children, Happy Children’ scheme are three primary aims:
- Development of medicines and vaccines
- Training and communication for healthcare professionals
- Information and educational activities for the general public.
Explains Antoine Ortoli, Intercontinental Senior Vice-President, Global Operations: “Pediatrics is a priority for Africa: 1 child out of 4 in the world is African and 50% of the worldwide infant mortality occurs on this continent. Sanofi is the leader in Africa, with the largest healthcare offer dedicated to children. Sanofi’s Pediatrics Initiative corresponds to the strong desire to strengthen our contribution and commitment to child healthcare.”
Everybody at Chronos Studeos – from the architects and CG artists to the backroom staff and media team – are truly honoured and delighted to have played their part in Sanofi‘s Pediatrics Initiative and send their best wishes to patients and staff alike at The Lagos University Teaching Hospital.