14 Jul Make art (BC Children’s Hospital Art Project)
DESIGNING A REAL-WORLD EXPERIENCE
Collaboration is a ton of hard work. (I’ll dedicate a post to just that topic one day – it deserves much space and time.) I also consider collaboration to be one of the most rewarding creative endeavors. If the project is inspiring, and the people are stellar, with some commitment (and magic), the results can be incredible.
Recently, the BC Children’s Hospital put out a call to Canadian artists with the goal of creating a really special healing space for their patients. Neil Hooson gathered a small group (4 artists, 1 designer, 1 writer)—we’ve all worked together at Disney on digital experiences. We met, talked about our passion for the project, brainstormed, sketched, threw around some more ideas, did some research, and put in an initial proposal we were all proud of.
Our work was put in front of focus groups made of kids, parents, and hospital staff. Out of 1200 + artists who responded, we were chosen to help with the vision to make this healing space come to life for kids! One catch for our group—we proposed to do one hallway area, and they asked us to do a series of three rooms—one MRI simulation room (to make the kids feel comfortable), plus two MRI rooms that are required to be part of the same narrative, but need to be unique because many kids get multiple MRIs. Bigger scope, but bigger opportunity to craft immersive spaces and have real impact.
This is a really special project and it deserves a LOT of thoughtful consideration.
Creative Research—We looked at the impressive results that the Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh had. The UPMC’s colourful “Camp Cozy” imaging room eases fears of the PET/CT camera and helps reduce the need for sedation. We focused our concepts on key elements of immersion in the hopes we can replicate their success.
Our “Experiencers”—The children (younger to older) going through these rooms have some unique challenges. We’re keeping our emotional goals (including optimism, serenity, whimsy) in mind while serving a very real physiological goal—these kids should be immersed enough in the experience that the need for sedation is reduced.
The Narrative—One space (a “training” room) transitions to one of two spaces, so our story has to be linear, impactful, and authentic to a wide range of age groups.
The Art—Tone, scale, and style are very important here. While optimism, whimsy and distraction are critical for this space, no matter how small or tall, we wanted kids to be delighted and surprised. We’ve got a lot of space to work with and we want a lot of smiles.
Beyond The Narrative—True experience design considers more than a finite time period. Therefore, we considered how to enhance and extend the experience we’re creating with original assets that the hospital can provide kids prior to the visit so that they can get familiar with the concept and the characters. We all just want to feel in control of our destinies.
Even though our proposal was green-lit, our concept package is due tomorrow and we’ve been working in the evenings and on weekends to get our larger concept proposal done. It includes our story conceit, our character design proposals, our art sketches, layout for three rooms, and our narrative experience extensions.
Here are a couple of sneak peeks (random slides that aren’t in order) of our concept proposal… it’s gonna be an amazing collaborative journey.
Our group—Neil Hooson, Keely Portsmouth, Amanda Kadatz, Augusto Kapronczai, Jenny Weightman and me, Deanna Kent. #newbcch