Software Used: Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, SketchUp
Time: 8 Weeks
Role: Creative Strategy, Art Direction, UX/UI Management
Care for Everyone
A safe space for patients, doctors, and staff at Seattle Children's Hospital to process their emotions, and heal mentally - not just physically. Rediscovering and imagining health care.
Redefine the Workplace
A new approach to providing quality care to both patients and employees in navigating life post-COVID-19. How can the workplace provide more than a space?
Grief House is a safe space for individuals to process grief in public workplaces. This idea stemmed from the TV comedy series, “Human Resources'', an animated series created by Nick Kroll. One of the characters on the show is named Keith from Grief, who is a sweater that helps grieving people when they lost family members by repeating the phrase, “The only way is through.” His character is an allegory for how in today’s busy world, people choose to deny their emotions and in the process, not only hurt the relationships around them but the ones within themselves. Choosing to ignore grief does not lead to healing, but by creating safe spaces people are able to nurture growth and healing to process their grief. After transitioning from a homework-based environment, where I could cry in the safety of my bedroom, I found myself hiding in bathroom stalls or in my car to expose my emotions. Greif House is a place that helped me feel safe to express my grief and help my inner child make sense of any changes or pains in my life, which then aid in my transition back into the workplace.
Reimagine who you are serving
It’s the next normal we’re headed to, not back to normal.
During the pandemic, people have been surprised by how effectively technologies for videoconferencing and other forms of digital collaboration were adopted by the work environment. For many, the use of these technologies has had greater benefits than imagined. The pandemic has sped up macro trends in consumer behavior, business management, and hiring. That, along with insights gained by months of adjustments to work roles, schedules, routines, and priorities, have prompted employers and employees to reconsider many default assumptions about what they do along with how and why they do their work. One effect of the pandemic that will persist long after businesses reopen is employees’ mental health. The virus’ physical, social, and economic impacts have not been felt equally, which has led to significant mental health strains, including increased anxiety and depression, on people at every level within organizations and across industries. Even those who did not become sick or laid off reported worries about their own health and that of loved ones. It has also given employers an improved understanding of the daily complexities their staff members must navigate through just to be able to get to the office and be productive, such as caring for young children or elderly parents. Burnt-out employees resulting from those daily complexities, are going to be less productive and more likely to quit, which would negatively impact the employers of companies. Virtually every business has discovered new things about itself over the last 1 months, both beneficial and detrimental, but the smartest ones will have used the time to ask themselves unfamiliar and different questions. Questions include, how can we reimagine our workspace?
A safe space is a safer workspace
Why a Treehouse?
For this case study, I chose Seattle Children’s hospital as the location to implement the safe space. Inspired by my own grieving process, my best friend is currently battling leukemia and has begun his fourth round of chemotherapy. I think about him every day and how this could help his family support him while going through treatment. His mom has not left his side, while his sister does her best to visit as much as possible. The space is not intended to cure his cancer, but to help his family, doctors, and friends express their pain in private within the hospital’s walls.
Grief can make people feel low and need to hide in dark places. A treehouse design was chosen as it is a safe place for children to hide and explore their imaginations. Within all of us, there is a child, and instead of sinking into helplessness, the treehouse is intended to uplift others into a safe and secure place to support their emotions. Additionally, Seattle Children's Hospital has a wayfinding system based on four Pacific Northwest-themed zones – Forest, River, Mountain, and Ocean. “Wayfinding” includes signage, maps, colors, floor numbers, room numbers, design schemes, and visual cues – anything that helps people identify where they are and gets them to where they want to go.
Artifacts & Wayfinding
To access the Greif House, you must find the mural that has a treehouse on the wall. There will be a secret door that you can open to give access to the safe space. Once inside you can enter up the stairs into the green room. After using the room, these signs are on the stairs to help you identify which part of the grieving stage you are at, these are called the growth signs. To help point you to which stage you are in, there is an emotional compass map to help you identify which emotions are present. These are all guiding tools used in music therapy techniques for children who are non-verbal.
This project has made me question why more of these spaces don't exist and how COVID-19 can continue to bring change for the better in healthcare. Spaces like the Greif House can continue to exist in so many other places such as airports, court houses, foster centers, or elementary schools. Along with the feeling of safety to express grief, I hope this can be used as a tool for us to unmask at work and open honest communication with those around us. As we transition back into the office, classroom, etc. - may people continue to practice grace in the spaces shared with others. I hope to one day to put an end to crying in a bathroom stall or in my car, and instead, open up to my boss and ask for support.