Hello, friends. Today, we have a guest blogger stopping by (so be on your best behavior). Bryan Schuetze from Aquamoon has written a piece about his work on the first and second floors of our new hospital, making the “under the sea” theme come to life. Let’s dive in, shall we?
By Bryan Schuetze
I am truly inspired by Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago’s mission to care for all children. As principal designer for Aquamoon, collaborating with Lurie Children’s planners to create a healing environment for the entrance lobby was an awesome opportunity to contribute to this amazing new hospital.
With two donated humpback whales slated to hang in the first floor lobby, and a fish tank proposed for the second floor lobby, I began to consider ways to create a holistic theme that could bridge these two elements. When Bruce Komiske, Chief of New Hospital Design and Construction, asked me to come up with something to make the exterior of the lobby elevators special, it occurred to me that this could be the perfect thematic bridge. Having worked for years at the world renowned John G. Shedd Aquarium, I relied on my knowledge of ocean life and came up with the theme of “Kelp Forest” and “Coral Garden”. As these two themes were presented to the various user groups at the hospital, I could feel the excitement growing!
The theme “Kelp Forest” unveils itself the moment you enter Lurie Children’s. An iconic 40-foot tall, oval elevator surround, seen from the outside of the first and second floor lobbies, is wrapped from floor to ceiling with a stylized image of an undersea kelp forest. To bring the kelp forest to life, a state of the art projection system allows for water effects as well as various kelp critters to emerge and then disappear onto the mural, and the floor, in seemingly endless variations.
On the second floor lobby, Aquamoon created “Coral Garden” where three fantastical coral sculptures encourage interaction and fun discovery, and set the stage for viewing a large coral garden aquarium stocked with colorful tropical fish in a habitat that includes elements of the three monumental sculptures. This aquarium is also viewable from the Kenneth & Anne Griffin Emergency Department where Aquamoon also designed the playfully themed ventilation grilles.
For me personally, the experience of working on this project for Lurie Children’s has been life changing. The hospital staff that I met and worked with, the community partners that have come together to share their ideas and resources, and now seeing the children in the hospital’s care is truly inspirational and unforgettable. Thank you for letting me be a part of it all!
As a recognized exhibition designer and visionary, Bryan Schuetze uses his extensive knowledge to create experiences integrating visually stunning installations with rich content expressed through compelling narratives, while promoting fundamental social and ecological responsibility. In 2008, Bryan joined Aquamoon as Managing Partner and Principal Designer. With Aquamoon, Bryan has designed aquatic experiences for residential clients, healing environments for hospitals, as well as subject-based exhibitions for various clients. His expertise and vision are sought out by architects, engineers, developers, artists, planners and writers in both the private and public spheres.