Client: Harborview Medical Center
Location: Seattle, WA, United States
Completion date: 2015
Artwork budget: $7,000
Tory and Eroyn Franklin LLC
Harborview’s sky bridge speaks to the diverse patient population. This 6’x70’ vinyl mural casts a stained glass-like glow on the hallway that connects two wings of Harborview Medical Center in Seattle, WA. The design combines plants found throughout the world and patterns derived from the cultures that are most prominent in the patient population.
Harborview Medical Center wanted to address a problematic design issue–that exam rooms in an adjacent building were visible from this sky bridge, which caused privacy issues. A vinyl window application obscures the view and enhances the patient and worker experience. The hospital serves a diverse patient population from around the globe, so it was crucial to make everyone feel welcome.
The three primary audiences that use this sky bridge are the inpatient psychiatric population, hospital workers, and students at this teaching hospital who often eat lunch in this quiet area lined with seating.
Creating a calming environment was especially important for the patients. Many studies have explored the use of natural imagery on patients in hospital settings. This also benefits medical personnel who are often under job-related stress and can suffer burnout.
We began our research by talking to stakeholders about what they needed out of our contribution to the hospital. Our secondary research on healing in hospitals led us to focus on natural motifs. We also researched historical patterns derived from the most prominent countries of origin of the patient population. Since hospital staff and students interact with this piece daily, Tory and I created a design that has many points of activation, creating a constant sense of discovery. The piece has a different visual impact, whether the audience views it from down the hallway or sitting directly next to the textured patterns. The all-over pattern effectively obscures the windows in the adjacent building.
Because the printing method does not exactly mirror what we saw on the screen, we made test prints that helped us come up with a palette that we would print accurately. We discovered that adding texture hid any banding that could occasionally be an artifact of the printing method. We also used our test samples of the printed vinyl to make sure the design to be effective at night when it was only lit internally from fluorescent lighting. Even though the mural diffuses the light levels minimally, the mural amplifies the glowing quality of light that fills the hallway, giving a sense of mo