Daniel and William Warren of Warren Design have lead the design for the Pod and Waiting Spaces based on the theme of ‘Journeys of the Imagination’. The furniture, graphical illustrations, software and pieces of setworks have all been designed to inspire playful thinking and provide distraction. Early consultation with the play team and other members of staff emphasised the need for engaging spaces that were more ‘after school club’ than ‘playground environment’ encouraging children to stay within allocated waiting areas. They have designed spaces that offer privacy for family groups that need it, large pieces of set which create a visual impact, table top play activities and hidden magical moments for children to discover whilst they wait.
In order to create a strong link between the new hospital at Little France and the much loved old site they have used the recognisable Edinburgh buildings and architecture as a starting point and embroidered these with characters, making the space familiar yet dreamlike. Within the Pod, a sense of the city has been created from silhouettes of the skyline represented as wall murals and on large pieces of setworks with illustrations by Emily Hogarth. During a series of workshops at the beginning of the design process children drew their own versions of buildings and characters which Emily then used to create an imaginary city. The Scott Monument turns into a space rocket, tigers and other animals wander through the streets and up on a high ledge Edinburgh Castle transforms into a brooding dragon.
Within the large structures are moments of discovery. A series of Augmented Reality viewers developed by Touzie Tyke allow children to see some of these characters come to life and move through the actual space. The dragon swoops down, birds fly around and hot air balloons drift up and out of the building. Also hidden within the structures are small mechanical sculptures created by city based artist Guy Bishop. Children can discover what really happens in the cellars beneath the Royal Mile and see local characters such as Greyfriars Bobby, Dolly the Sheep and the Penguin Parade come to life.
Working closely with health-care specialist Teal, a range of furniture has also been developed for the project. A high backed sofa offers family groups privacy in a busy waiting room whilst other pieces are informed by animal shapes such as the Deer and Tortoise stools. As well as being practical pieces of furniture they will aid in children’s play and take them on a ‘Journey of the Imagination’ whilst they wait.