Kingston University graduate revamps hospital waiting room with 11kg of Duplo Lego to bring colour and positivity to patients

Posted Monday 3 April 2017

A hospital waiting room has been uniquely redesigned by a Kingston University graduate. Lili Giacobino used colourful Duplo Lego blocks to make the modification at Kingston Hospital in an effort to reduce patient stress and encourage positivity.

Lili aimed to bring happiness and positive thinking to a place that is often associated with anxiety and boredom. "I wanted to transform the experience of sitting in a waiting room at a hospital," she said. "It is an uncomfortable place for patients - particularly children - so my aim was to add colour and warmth, and give them other things to focus their minds on in the room."

The Swiss designer graduated from Kingston University with a degree in Product and Furniture Design BA (Hons) in 2011, having first obtained a degree in social work at Haute École Specialisée in Switzerland. Before moving to the UK she established a recycled cardboard furniture company and worked as a social educator in a children's hospital.

Lili carried out the project voluntarily to bring colour to Kingston Hospital's waiting roomHaving also reimagined Kingston Hospital's wards with illustrations of butterflies, birds and trees in 2015, Lili's first love was always creativity and she has been artistic since childhood. "When I was little I always enjoyed making things like doll houses, and this creative spark has remained with me," she explained. "Having travelled extensively, I decided that my next step would be to study a design-based degree away from Switzerland. My course proved challenging but highly enjoyable, with the opportunity to learn a lot, and now I like to think I'm giving back to a community that really welcomed me when I first arrived in Kingston upon Thames."

This combination of interests acted as a catalyst for her desire to carry out charitable work. "From my experiences as a social worker in a children's hospital, I know how intimidating a hospital can be for a child and their parents," she explained. "By creating illustrations on the walls of wards and adding character to waiting rooms and corridors, I wanted to alter this perception and deliver an air of respite to a hospital visit."

The venture took six months from conception and design to implementation. Kingston Hospital NHS Foundation Trust's director of nursing and patient experience, Duncan Burton paid tribute to Lili's contribution in brightening up the scenery and improving patient mentality. "Lili's creative work around the hospital is incredible," he said. "When our patients are relaxed, it helps our staff give them the very best care and support, creating a positive atmosphere for everyone."

Lili currently runs her own company, Lili Interiors, delivering property and interior design. Current projects include distinctive one-off constructions including a ‘Hobbit house' and ‘Cat Nest' among her eye-catching creations. She is a firm believer in functionality and quirkiness over glamorous designs. "I'm not really a fan of ‘bling'," she said. "For me it is more about how my work can symbolise individuality and creative thinking."

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