2020 / Interior

Meryl Thomas Palakunnel

Project 1

A walk down memory lane

This project explores the integration of reminiscence, digital hardware and spatial design, at dementia specific nursing homes. The research looks into design approaches that create spaces within the interior spaces, creating a life-like ambience as per the activity or the event taking place hence providing a refreshing and immersive experience while in care. Residents immerse in a dynamic environment which cues specific collective memories without being disruptive.

"We all possess memories, we all have our own unique life history. Recalling the past is a means of owning it and hence preserving ourselves. It is a here and now process which holds the teller and the told in relationship with each other." - Faith Gibson

Over the years there has been a rise in the number of people living with dementia in Ireland and is likely to triple in the coming years as per the reports by the National Alzheimer's Society of Ireland. On ageing, our sensory and cognitive abilities undergo gradual changes. Dementia worsens the effects of these changes and alters one's perception of time and space. Though there are ample number of facilities catering to and housing people with dementia especially the elderly, the majority of the care homes have a clinical setting which further adds to the confusion and anxiety of not knowing where one is. The thought of a spatial design that transports the residents to another place or relive a memory within the facility drove this design research project.

The design

The design has been worked out basing the interior layout of Saint Josephs Nursing Home, Shankill. Firstly, the key areas of interaction and activity were identified (day hall, community hall and corridor spaces). Through several iterations, the designed refined into a portable LED wall unit consisting of three panels, that can be configured in an infinite number of layouts.


Scenarios with the portable LED wall unit in context have been created to give a glimpse of the immersive experience this approach has to offer.

Paddy and Veronica are on their way to Stella Cinemas, just like they used to every Friday night. As they stroll down the street, Veronica remembers her first date with Paddy at Stella to watch The Rebel, which since then became her favourite movie. "Veronica is in for a treat; it is her favourite movie that's showing after all!", Paddy thought to himself and smiled.

They are awestruck by the shimmering lights and art deco interiors of the lobby. "The place has hardly changed', remarked Paddy. At the other end of the lobby stood Nancy, who was amused by the popcorn machine!

Veronica is glad that they are just in time to catch the movie.

The two then head to Trocadero for dinner.

The below shown corridor installations are the exact replica of the wall unit except in this case are mounted on to the wall, with an in-built motion-detecting camera which enables interaction and activity. This system can aid in way-finding and engaging the residents in activities and interaction, enhancing sensory and cognitive abilities.

Joanne had a hearty meal at Trocadero's and is on her way to her room to rest. As she was pacing down the corridors, she comes to a sudden halt and wonders, "Goodness, what time is it? I can't seem to remember!". She looks to her side to see a beautiful sunset at Dun Laoghaire in real-time. She stood there gazing in awe, remembering the days when she and her beloved Johnny would drive to the seashore to watch the sunset.

As Joanne was about to leave, she raised her hand to hold the railings, it was then she realised the clouds were moving as well! She waved again. They moved again! Joanne called on to Veronica to join the fun. The ladies laughed and told each other their memories and how they wish to go to the sea again.

The physical environment in care settings has a salient role in enhancing residents' quality of life and quality of care practices. Results can help healthcare providers and designers in creating immersive spaces with reminiscence cues which guarantees a better quality of living for the residents.



Silvina Sisterna /

2022 / Fine Art



Silvina Sisterna /

2022 / Fine Art