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University helps children's hospice garden win silver medal at Chelsea Flower Show


A garden created for a children's hospice including an innovative feature installed by De Montfort Unviersity (DMU) has won a silver medal at Chelsea Flower Show.

DMU helped Rainbows Hospice for Children and Young People, based in Loughborough, by creating interactive projections for their contemplation garden at the world famous show. 

DMU’s Retail Lab installed an interactive projection which displays large illustrations triggered by each visitor to the garden and tailored to the individual.

The garden is in the ‘Fresh’ area of the show. Fresh is a new area that includes modern, inventive gardens and trade stands offering ingenious new products.

The Retail Lab installed a hidden webcam connected to software which identifies visitors’ gender and approximate age as they approach the garden. 

It then projects colourful images designed by Noora Attia, who is studying a Masters degree with DMU’s Institute of Creative Technologies (IOCT), on to the acrylic screens in the garden.

Senior Research Fellow at DMU, Tracy Harwood said: “The glance technology provided by Retail Lab projects an image on to the garden wall according to the age and gender of the people it detects approaching the garden.

"The set-up combines a hidden webcam with directional sound to encourage passers-by to look at a part of the garden. We’ve used Quividi’s glance technology to detect who’s near the webcam and the programming behind the installation has been undertaken by Working Solutions, digital signage specialists based in Leicester. Sound recordings have been compiled by the Retail Lab’s talented musician and technical consultant, Adam Weikert."

“The glance equipment made by Quividi is used by the Retail Lab in their work with retailers – it’s very useful when you want to find out who and for how long someone looks at something in a shop or display and is equally good at supporting an interactive installation such as this.”

The ‘Rainbows Children’s Hospice Garden’ will highlight the important role of gardens within children’s hospices, offering adults a space in which they can reflect and contemplate. The UK’s network of 50 children’s hospices, whose main charity body is Together for Short Lives, sees gardens as important areas which enable children and families to have positive memorable experiences and gives them an open space to be in during traumatic times.

The garden will be recreated at the East Midlands hospice after the show as is a place of relaxation and reflection. It will provide a tranquil place to help parents and staff deal with the extremely emotional day-to-day challenges of working and living with life-limited children.

Alison Cooke, Director of Care at Rainbows Hospice sayid: “We’ve always wanted to create a garden at Chelsea Flower Show, it’s a fantastic opportunity for us to raise awareness of the important, often unseen, work that goes on at a children’s hospice to make it a happy, positive place.”

Barbara Gelb, Chief Executive at Together for Short Lives said: “As the national charity for life limited children, we hope to highlight the importance of gardens within children’s hospices and raise awareness of the support and services children’s hospices provide. All children’s hospices rely on the generosity of the public to fund care for children and families in need.”

With planting help given by BBC Radio Leicester’s gardening expert Ady Dayman, the garden has been created by designer, Chris Gutteridge of Second Nature Gardens. He said: “The garden itself is divided up by large sheets of frosted acrylic which allow light and shapes through – creating shadows and silhouettes. Raised walkways form the entrance, with trees acting as a ceiling to provide a feeling of enclosure and calmness. A gently rippling water feature sits next to planting and seating.”

Visitors to the world famous show can experience the tranquillity of the Rainbows Children’s Hospice Garden from 22-26 May.

All costs for the garden project have been covered by three generous sponsors from within the hospice’s community. Two anonymous donations and a contribution from PR firm, Arch Communications have enabled Rainbows to enter the Show and, more importantly, bring children’s hospice care to the attention of the nation’s press.


Posted on Monday 21st May 2012

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