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Illustration and cheerful décor for a better paediatric service

Illustration and cheerful décor for a better paediatric service


A visit to the hospital is never fun. But cheerful design can make the experience less stressful, especially for children and their families. That’s what guided the design of the interior of the new pediatric ward at São João Hospital in Porto, Portugal. In one of the sections of the new facility, local architectural firm ARG Studio designed a 350 m2 multi-room leisure area, where youngsters can play and relax between treatments.

The new pediatric ward at the São João Hospital in Porto, Portugal, is becoming a benchmark for renovation and innovation in the local healthcare system. The administration’s objective was not only to guarantee the highest level of treatment services, but also to ensure the well-being, ease and joy of young patients. This challenge was met by the multidisciplinary ARG Studio team. The architecture defined the color, which engaged the illustration, and the latter found the main character: the kite that flies from the drawings to the entrance of the new pediatric wing. The kite installation comes to life through the combination of simple shapes scattered across the ceiling of the hall and corridor, like a toy, somewhere between the imaginary and the figurative. The recreation area is essential to the children’s recuperation, comfort and well-being during their stay. The design sets up a sequence of spaces of a programmatic spectrum, from study cell, library, physical activities, virtual games or simply play zones. Each room has its own color, creating an immersive setting which, as a whole and through a varied palette, lends dynamism and serenity. The result is a stimulating environment that satisfies the inevitable range of user moods. The Illustration project, by Francisca Ramalho, is a kite walk along the Ward, a path through visual landscapes rich in mysterious plants and hidden animals. The itinerary is illustrated by large panels that suggest playful and enchanting places where you can wonder, imagine or simply contemplate the colorful shapes. This tale calls for a little fantasy in a place that’s supposed to heal pain and suffering. A place full of stories: some sadder, some happier. An invitation, if only briefly, to fly away from complicated reality.

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