During 2003, Olafur Eliasson introduced a radiant experience to people of England, The Weather Project, unveiled in the Turbine Hall at London’s Tate Modern. This installation seamlessly combined the worlds of art and science together in order to reproduce an effect only ever before achieved though nature, the warmth and radiance of a star, only this time inhabiting a space indoors.
Entering the hall viewers were met by a large artificial sun dominating the expanse, illuminating the room in a duotone of black and yellow while ambient mist accumulated overhead into cloud like formations before dissipating to reveal the ceilings reflection of the space below. Visitors were swiftly subdued into a sense of wonder as they marveled at such a breathtaking spectacle. The artist merely wishing to contribute a few rays of sunshine to a city so typically grey and bleak, wanting to give Londoners a chance to feel the warmth and splendor of the sun upon their cheeks in a calming and peaceful environment, changing their moods for the better. The sensation was so divine it soon become a place of rest and refuge inside the city, where patrons could sit or lay and allow their minds unfold as they enjoyed their tranquil surroundings. James Turrell, an American artist from the 70s, experimented with similar concepts throughout his artworks, such as Sky Space I, where viewers were presented with an empty white room containing a square shaped cutout in the ceiling. Visitors were encouraged to observe the sky through the hole as if it were an ever-changing painting, the clouds and breeze moving along in harmony with the natural world allowing viewers to take their time, observing and reminiscing on past events.
Studies conducted by American psychologists from Rochester University, New York, were published on the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin in 2017, which described how contemplation along with meditation are keys in the reduction of stress in the workplace: a meager 15 minutes a day, was enough to begin feeling less stressed, and was shown to improve both physical and mental wellbeing. Today’s offices have a growing need for places where individuals can experience peace and quiet away from the commotion of others, allowing them recollect on their thoughts and ideas. Privacy and isolation are a workers right, allowing them to improve their lives, and eliminate the risk of them developing anxiety throughout the day.
Quiet Rooms are a new style of isolated area inside the workplace, useful in co-working and open-space offices, giving people a chance to take a break from the constant interactions with their colleagues and spend some time alone. A place where their mind is free to relax and gain back some of the tranquility lost throughout their daily routine, forming sensations of peace and helping to eliminate anxiety. These new environments can be envisioned as soundproofed rooms where individuals may rest undisturbed by others, relaxing in a chair, or laying back against a sofa beneath them the comfort of a soft carpet. Places like these are cozy and perfect for meditating to calming music, contemplating or simply reading a book in silence. These hybrid areas merge the indoors with the outdoors, thanks to the possibility of integrating green walls that evoke feelings of nature, or the use of technologic systems that reproduce natural light like Coelux® who’s technology synthetically creates a warm natural light similar to the suns, that allows for comfortable stress free environments to be established. Similar to a real window, it offers the opportunity to experience the sun and sky indoors.
Quiet Rooms are now being installed inside the workplaces of forward-looking companies as well as in environments where people spend many hours of their day. Level believes that the need for individuals to have personal time to themselves is crucial for the contemporary society and represents a luxury as well an opportunity for new design solutions.