Following his work with Roxy Music in the early ’70s, Brian Eno all but invented ambient music, influencing the likes of Depeche Mode, Talking Heads, Spandau Ballet, and more. But Eno’s also used his music to influence other, more tedious parts of life: in the ’80s, he replaced the muzak at LaGuardia Airport with an ambient soundtrack, and he even created the “brief wash of sound when Windows 95 starts up.” Now, he’s using his skills for something slightly more admirable: helping hospital patients recover.
As The Independent reports, Eno has designed two ambient “healing environments” to be utilized in the newly-opened Montefiore Hospital in Hove, Sussex, UK. These designs aim to create a “serene atmosphere” and enhance the hospital’s architectural aim of “three dimensional, all-embracing means of treating patients.” As it turns out, three-day old coffee and People magazines from 2004 ain’t cutting it.
“77 Million Paintings for Montefiore” is an “installation of light and (non-repeating) generative music” that will be featured in the reception area. Meanwhile, patients and visitors can visit “Quiet Room for Montefiore”, an empty room featuring more “generative music” where they can have a place to “to think, take stock or simply relax.”
According to a spokesperson, Eno was inspired by Florence Nightingale, the famous triage nurse, who observed in 1859 that “variety of form and brilliancy of colour in the objects presented to patients have a powerful effect and are actual means of recovery.”
In a statement, the hospital’s architecture firm, IBI Nightingale, yielded to Eno’s infinite genius: “Creating a healing environment isn’t only about correct surgical procedures and the right technology but also about making an atmosphere where the patients feel able to relax enough to clearly think through their options, and to properly take part in the healing process themselves.”
Depending on the success of these installations, Eno could create more of these healing zones. “Since word about this broke in the architectural world there have been four different architects who work specifically in the design of hospitals who have expressed particular interest in Brian’s installations,” the spokesperson added.
If you can’t make it to Montefiore Hospital, try this little experiment: break your nose on the nearest wall, spend the day listening to the Lux track “Day of Light” while watching this GIF, and see if that helps the healing process.