Sensory for Dementia at TRI

At Toronto Rehab Institute’s (TRI) 5 South, patients who suffer with severe forms of dementia are admitted in hopes of helping them with their ailments, before sending them back to their long-term care centres.

The graduate students of OCAD U’s Design for Health program joined together with TRI to help redesign 5 South with a more effective and healing design. The aspect of “Sensory” was integrated throughout the floor, integrating lighting and sound to help relieve stress, depression, agitation and an overall sense of wellness.

Here are some renderings from the project:



Lighting intervention locations

The yellow blocking in this image represents the spaces that will be addressed with the lighting interventions.


Sound intervention locations

This image represents the locations where the sound interventions will be located, including both public and private spaces.


OneSpace intervention locations

The yellow rectangles marked on this image represent the locations where Philips’ OneSpace product can be instituted.


Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 12.23.13 PM

This rendering demonstrates what the hallways of 5 South could look like with the integration of Philips’ Luminous Textile panels on the walls, providing an element of interest while helping to create a calm and stimulating environment.


Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 12.23.42 PM

This rendering demonstrates what the ceilings on the hallways of 5 South could look like with the integration of Philips’ OneSpace, providing the sense of space and air, while providing a calming defuse light throughout the space.


Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 12.23.59 PM

Philips’ OneSpace on the ceiling of the dining room brightens up the space in a calm manner, creating a more inviting place for eating meals, which can sometimes be a difficult task for those with dementia.


Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 12.35.30 PM

The patient bedrooms have been outfitted with bigger windows to allow more outside light to come in, intigrating the circadian rhythm into the space, as well as the integration of the OneSpace, to further allow for calm and defuse light within the space.


Screen Shot 2017-07-25 at 12.36.22 PM

The physical therapy room was once a dark room located within the interior of the building, not permitting for any natural light and outfitted with fluorescent lighting. This rendering demonstrates the relocation of this room to an exterior room outfitted with a window. this room also has windows into the hallway and Philips’ OneSpace on the ceiling.


Abungin Coronel, A., Halleran, L., Lang, A., Abreu Ligabue, F., Mulvale, A., Saby, A., Tagari, S.,  Talebzadeh, A. (2017). Designing for the Dementia Environment. Unpublished. OCAD University

Literature Review: Lighting for People with Dementia; by: Torrington & Tregenza

Research has shown that guidance for lighting design for people with dementia, should not be limited to the consideration of visual tasks or compensation for deteriorating eyesight. The well-being of those who are physically and cognitively weak is affected by their overall exposure to the circadian cycle. Their freedom from anxiety and the extent to which they can continue the activities they enjoy depend on their perception of the whole place, as well as on the physical support that the building provides. The importance of lighting as an element in design for older people has been observed in architectural practice while there is increasing evidence that lighting is a significant component of a therapeutic environment.

Dementia is primarily a disease of later life, so recommendations for those with dementia must be set within the context of the lighting requirements of the older person. Sources within residents’ elds of view should be of low luminance or indirect rather than small and bright. They should also be positioned away from users’ directions of sight. Windows should have means of excluding low-elevation sunlight; windows at the ends of corridors and on lines of sight should also be avoided. However, windows providing natural or interesting views is almost universally welcomed, and the presence of a view may have beneficial effects on the health of dementia sufferers and people confined within a building. Window positions and sill heights should be related to the probable activities of people, in particular, whether they are walking, standing or sitting.

Other recommendations listed in this article: The lighting of rooms should not create dark areas where contrast with the brighter parts of the room inhibits vision. As well, reflections in shiny materials can cause both disability and discomfort glare. They hinder perception of the actual surface and mask the surface’s underlying colour; matt surfaces are preferable.

Increase the visibility of tasks; this enhances the ability to see differences of brightness and colour. Integrate diurnal daylight cycle; this ensures that residents have sufficient daylight exposure to minimize the risk of SAD and to ensure that they experience a 24-hour cycle of light and dark.

Provide potentially therapeutic views to enhance opportunities for social interaction. Preferred views are of natural scenes rather than the built environment; people confined within a building often enjoy seeing the activities of people outside. Window positions and sill heights should be related to the probable activities of people, in particular whether they are walking, standing or sitting. Seating and areas for social interaction should be provided beside view windows.

Lighting should support activities, enabling residents to continue activities they enjoyed through their lifetime and enhance opportunities for social interaction.

There should be recognition of ‘place’; interior spaces should be recognizable by dementia sufferers with no memory of recent experience. The information given by all the senses must be consistent. The clues to the nature of the room must be consistent with a common sense understanding of the building.

Torrington, J. M., & P. R. Tregenza. (2016). Lighting for People with Dementia. Retrieved from


Hospital Ward of the Future


Screen Shot 2017-07-03 at 11.59.46 AM
This rendering institutes the concept of Philips’ Luminous panels within a hospital’s corridors. The diffused lighting, colours, and scenes from nature present a stimulating and dynamic feeling, while also providing wayfinding cues (Abungin Coronel, Halleran, Lang, et al., 2017).
Abungin Coronel, A., Halleran, L., Lang, A., Abreu Ligabue, F., Mulvale, A., Saby, A., Tagari, S., Talebzadeh, A. (2017). Designing for the Dementia Environment. Unpublished. OCAD University

Philips’ Luminous Textile

Luminous textile combines multi-colored LEDs seamlessly within textile panels that also soften sound. You can choose the size and number of panels as well as how you arrange them. Luminous textile panels, made with re rated Kvadrat textiles, are completely integrated, making them very easy to install.

The combination of elements used in each luminous textile panel creates acoustic properties that absorb sounds. These textile helps dampen sound and soften echoes. The combination of soft, diffused light and the aesthetics of the material creates a
very special effect that has an almost dreamlike quality. They come in a wide
range of sizes and can be arranged in infinite ways. One huge mood wall can be created as a sensational backdrop or scattered individual panels can cover a wall and display fluid content across them. These images help distract the patients in a positive way, giving them something to focus on. Recordings from Philips’ online standard portfolio can be chosen to add decorative aspects or to produce a natural ambience; one could also upload their own content. These natural themes help people feel connected to the outside which helps create a pleasant and relaxing atmosphere, for both the patient and staff. The reduction of a hectic atmosphere also lends to faster recovery times for the patients as it helps them be calm and cooperative. The luminous textile is easy to control with any device that is connected to the panel network.

Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 2.38.50 PM
Philips Luminous textile projecting a blue sky with white clouds slowly passing by; providing a sense of tranquility and instituting an artificial circadian rhythm within an indoor environment (Philips, n.d.).
Screen Shot 2017-07-02 at 2.38.31 PM
Philips Luminous textile projection of a setting sun, providing a feeling of serenity and instituting an artificial circadian rhythm within an indoor environment with the lighting of the setting of the sun (Philips, n.d.).
Philips. Philips Large Luminous Surfaces. Retrieved from