Patients transported to exotic locations by architecture at Cancer Centre

Thursday 15 June 2017

The Living Room at Guy's Cancer Centre

A unique space created at the Cancer Centre at Guy’s Hospital to stimulate the imagination of patients and visitors is being showcased as part of the London Festival of Architecture.

The festival is Europe’s biggest annual architecture event and takes place this month throughout the capital.

The space at the Cancer Centre, called the Living Room, has been created by architecture and design practice BAT Studio and contains custom-made bamboo furniture with embedded speakers, providing different ambient sounds in different parts of the room. 

The calming sounds are produced by an app which uses real time weather information to reflect sounds that would be heard at that exact moment in locations around the world. Each zone within the Living Room has a small screen to indicate where the sounds are from, and the current weather conditions there.

From locations as diverse as England’s South Downs to a busy market square in Turkey, the Living Room’s evocative sounds are complemented by state-of-the-art technology, and allows patients to transport themselves to a new location in their mind or to reminisce about times gone by. As part of the festival, artist in residence, Julia Bird, is running workshops with patients, staff and visitors with the aim of making more than 1,000 origami birds to display in the Cancer Centre.

Liz O’Sullivan, Arts Manager at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, said: “The Living Room represents our commitment to provide the best environment for patients, staff and visitors through high-quality creative projects. Architecture has the ability to improve people’s lives and nowhere is this more important than in a building dedicated to making people well. With the Living Room our aim has been to create a welcoming place for patients that does not feel like a hospital, so they can receive pioneering treatment in an uplifting environment.”

The Living Room is part of a world-class art programme commissioned by Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust to encourage patient and staff wellbeing. The vision and artwork for the space was funded by the Friends of Guy’s (now the Friends of Guy’s and St Thomas’), with support from Guy’s and St Thomas’ Charity.

The London Festival of Architecture runs throughout June and members of the public are welcome to visit the Living Room at the Cancer Centre at Guy’s until Friday 30 June. 

Tamsie Thomson, Director of the London Festival of Architecture, said: “Members of the public can look forward to the biggest and best ever London Festival of Architecture in June. Our ‘memory’ theme has inspired hundreds of participants – from small architecture practices to major cultural institutions – to create a fantastic and varied programme of events that will inspire, enthuse, provoke and entertain. There really is something for everyone.”

Last updated: March 2022

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