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Rainbow reflections in waiting room of the Children's Hospital, Geneva, Switzerland

The children's hospital is situated below street level. A skylight at street level brings daylight into waiting room. Holographic mirrors sheets are mounted at the walls of this skylight. Rainbow reflections appear in the room. They change with time of day and season. If one moves in the room the reflections in the wall of the skylight change continuously.

The commission was the result of a 'Recommandation for Realisation' of the 'Concours artistique par appel Radiologie hopitaux Université de Geneva Suisse'.

Reflections in waiting room

Reflections in waiting room

Reflections in skylight.


Sky light outside at street level.


Dutch light artist Joost van Santen created another sort
of sky space in the University of Geneva Children's
Hospital in Switzerland. He collaborated with architects
in making a skylight that brings a rainbow into the
underground waiting room using holographic materials
and light from the street above. The rainbow moves as
the earth turns. The effect is soothing and reassuring.
"I wanted the children to be in connection with the
universe," van Santen says. "For a waiting room, a fast
moving light would be unsettling. But if you have to wait
in the hospital for ten minutes, say, then you become
aware of the slow, deliberate movement of the rainbow
as it inches across the space."
The rainbow, Van Santen adds, "... becomes a
conscious connection to the slow processes of the
cosmos. I want the outside world with the changes and
cosmological cycles to enter inside. The colours and
movement make you become more aware of these
changes." For children and their families facing illnesses,
the rainbow may be a symbol of hope.
Van Santen has worked with architects to incorporate
diurnal changes in light and colour in the Palace of Justice
at The Hague, the ING Bank headquarters in
Amsterdam, and the Emmen Ordnance building in
Emmen, The Netherlands. "I can enrich architecture at a
low cost if I'm brought in at the early stages of design,"
van Santen says.
He has worked with light in art and architecture.