Without intervention, the number of cancer-related deaths worldwide is expected to rise by about 70 per cent over the next two decades
Without intervention, the number of cancer-related deaths worldwide is expected to rise by about 70 per cent over the next two decades

How furniture is transforming the experience of cancer patients

The challenge designing the interior of a cancer ward

Kashmira Gander
Tuesday 29 November 2016 11:20

Futuristic, brightly-coloured seats nestled between towering mesh structures and jagged wooden tables, designed to bring people closer together.

This is the furniture that German designer Gitta Gschwendtner hopes will transform the lives of cancer patients and their loved ones.

Her eye-catching designs were created specifically for the dedicated cancer treatment centre at Guy’s Hospital in London, which opened earlier this year.

The vibrant colours signify specific treatment areas within the hospital.

"The ambition was to create an uplifting environment to transform the experience of those undergoing cancer treatment," she told The Independent.

Click through the gallery below to see Gschwendtner's furniture

“A large body of evidence suggests that art can contribute to better health and wellbeing; helping reduce stress, aid recovery and reduce the length of hospital stays," says Gschwendtner.

But designing for a cancer hospital can be challenging, she adds.

“The patients are often very unwell and frail and their physical as well as mental state needed to be thought about.

“The furniture is designed to be comfortable, easy to get in and out of, and does accommodate a range of body types."

Gschwendtner worked for three years – consulting patients and hospital staff – to create the furniture which she hopes will give those visiting patients a sense of privacy during a difficult period of their lives.

Instead of having a reception desk that creates a barrier between patients and stuff, she has created areas where patients and staff can sit down together.

"I hope the users can feel that the furniture is a considered response to their needs and hopefully they also feel intrigued and uplifted and perhaps momentarily distracted from the every day."

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