Room of Magic in Bronson's Children's Hospital
An initial contact was made by the Bronson Foundation in the summer of 2010 to assist in the design for the Room of Magic in Bronson's Children's Hospital. The Room of Magic would be a theater room where kids and their families could go to have some respite from their illness. Two boys from Vicksburg had raised the original seed money, which ended up totaling more than $15,000.00, to start the project three years prior, but it took the final design effort to bring their vision to fruition.
The seed money was in place, the technology aspect was in place, which was a projector and screen for movies, but the room lacked any type of transformative aesthetic or experience. It was basically a beige conference room with tables and mismatched chairs where you could watch a movie.
Initial themed images were created on sketch paper, a 1940's movie theatre idea complete with marquees and loges, a Swiss Family Robinson theme, Japanese anime, amusement parks, and space. When shown to the boys, they were interested in something more directly linked to magic. It was then that the final design started coming together. Preliminary images were sketched showing a magician's hat, wand, a rabbit, and various other images. The design had to incorporate magic images but also have imagery that would appeal to both girls and boys in multiple age groups. Images of fairies, super heroes, and wizards were placed into the design.
A space element which originated out of the magician's hat was still desired. A swirling commotion and stardust emanated from the hat stream up to the ceiling where a night sky was depicted, complete with moon, stars and black light.
The other caveat was that for one hour each day, the room was used for the pediatric resident group of thirty to meet before rounds. The biggest challenge was to accommodate the residents but also provide a transformative environment for sick kids the rest of the time.
Built-in benches were installed on two sides of the room to accommodate the thirty residents but the kids could also use these to lie down and read on. There are multiple bean bag chairs and barrel shaped chairs with tray and cup holder to simulate the experience of being in a movie theatre chair. They also double duty for seating for the residents.
Anecdotally, we have heard that the residents start off their day in a better frame of mind as well in this new environment.