When Barcelona-based graphic design studio and consultancy Toormix defined the new Children’s Daytime Oncology and Hematology Centre at Vall d’Hebron University Hospital as a “Parc d’Atencions” (Care Park), they set the tone for what patients and their families can expect, namely expert medical and emotional care given in a welcoming environment that is pleasant for both patients and medical crew. To achieve this, Toormix and collaborating architecture studio Plasencia Arquitectura first divided the daytime centre into a waiting room, medical consultation area and treatment area and then named each space according to their respective décor inspiration: the Natural Environment, the Universe and the Racing Circuit. The designers followed a seemingly simple, yet well thought-out approach for the Care Park’s interior, using indirect and natural lighting, calm colours and wooden panelling, while also using wood and other natural materials for the creation of simple, illustrative decorative elements.
The cartoon-like decorations are all stylised according to the theme of their respective spaces, with the objective of creating a sense of perspective and flow from one section to the other while also imparting a cheery touch that is sure to bring smiles to young faces. Hence, the décor of the Natural Environment-themed waiting room features fanciful wood cut outs on the walls in the shape of trees, mountains, clouds and cute owls. (Design experts will even spot Eero Aarnio’s stylized “Puppy” statue for Magis (2005) among the fanciful décor elements – although a child’s mind's eye will undoubtedly see it as a “real” puppy!)
Following suit, the Universe-themed consultation area features an array of whimsical cut outs in the form of planets, rockets, stars and even a U.F.O. designed to engage young people’s imagination. Meanwhile, the treatment area’s race track elements dream up a winner’s circle, whereby each patient leaves the hospital victorious! Every functional design element in this daytime care centre was conceptualised and deliberated upon, adding up to a friendly environment that not only helps ease the daily life of all patients and their families, but also encourages them, through the engagement of their imaginations and the empowerment of their curiosity, to discover, explore and accomplish their goals.