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Health
Giant Owl, Tiger And Chair Equals Fun For Kids, Even In A Hospital
February 22, 2013
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No one wants to see children end up in the hospital. But if they have to be there, this is the kind of thing we'd love to see in every kids' ward.

At the new Royal London Hospital in England, they have an incredible playroom in the children's ward that's like something out of a fantasy.

There's a huge stuffed tiger, a giant wooden globe, a fluorescent owl on a two-storey chair, a massive television set and so much more.

Everything in the room is oversized - all designed to bring the kids a little fun. It was created by Cottrell and Vermeulen architects, and designer Morag Myerscough.

"We wanted it to be a complete escape for the children," architect Richard Cottrell told The Guardian.

"Something so unexpected and all-consuming that it might distract them from thinking about being in hospital."

The room definitely has that. For example, on the TV, the kids can play an interactive game where they're superimposed on to a jungle scene.

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As part of the game, they can interact with the animals, and even make it rain. Not only that, but the kids can climb inside the TV and hang out in a space similar to a cave.

There's another area like that inside the globe. And each space is big enough for a hospital bed, so all the kids can enjoy it.

The Guardian also describes a "neon lampshade (that) projects a turntable on to the floor, allowing the children to control the music, while recorded stories are broadcast beneath the chair."

Here's a video showcasing all there is to do.

The designers consulted with medical staff, physiotherapists and teachers as they created the room, so it would allow for the needs of different children.

Another key thing was to keep the kids as active as possible.

Anne Mullins is the director of Vital Arts, a charitable arts organization that helped organize the project.

She told The Guardian, "We didn't just want them to be slumped in front of an Xbox... It's about keeping them moving and exploring."

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And the fun isn't just inside. Outside, on a roof terrace, the kids can play in a treehouse and a teepee.

"We tried to make it feel as natural as possible, to contrast the hard and faceless materials of the rest of the building," said Cottrell.

Plus, once the warmer weather arrives, the children will be able to plant flowers on the terrace as well.

The space cost about $1.5 million. It was paid for through a public-private partnership and opened this week.

"It's just scratching the surface of the possibilities of hospital design," said Cottrell. "It shows the potential for commissioning decent things, even on this vast scale."

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