The Mindfulness Park

Environments Studio 2:  Design for Interactions

7 Weeks | Spring 2020 

Brief

Design an experience that changes overtime 

Overview

Mindfulness is the practice by which a person becomes more aware of their present moment in order to become more in touch with their thoughts and emotions. It is a common technique individuals can use to improve their mental health, but it is a hard practice to incorporate into our lifestyles. 

So this park is a space that incorporates mindfulness practices into different stations. The overall goal of this space is to increase the amount of exposure that people have to mindfulness.  While this space creates specific activities and exercises for teaching mindfulness, the hope is that people will be able to take these techniques and apply it to their own lives. 

Skills/Tools

Physical Protoyping, Digital Mockups, Procreate, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe InDesign 

Process/Sketches

When beginning this project, I started with creating many different stations, each focusing on a different mindfulness technique. Through sketches and further refinement I was able to narrow down to 3 stations. I have included some sketches her but my full process is detailed here

Overview of Space

The park itself has 3 stations and serves to be a completely immersive experience. The three stations are placed at different heights, so that each provides the user with privacy from the other stations. The user starts at the base of the stairs of the first station, going up to the first station, then working their way down through the park. Once finishing the last station, they "re-enter" the world again. 

The Guidebook

At the beginning of the experience, the participant receives a guidebook with activities for each station. 

Station 1: Hearing

The first station the user enters is the hearing station, Nature's Surround Sound. This station prompts the user to listen to the space around them. The station itself is comprised of one bench which stretches across the whole space, allowing moments of privacy and openness. The goal with this station is to have the user actively listen to sounds that we tend to ignore like birds chirping and leaves rustling. 

 

The user is grounding themselves in the present moment by actively thinking about the space that they are located in, which sets the tone for the rest of the stations. 

Station 2: Feeling

The second station, "What Grounds You" encourages the user to physically fell the ground beneath them. The station itself is composed of different materials, sand, stone, tile, and grass. The user is encouraged to take off their shoes and really feel the ground mimicking the feeling we feel when we walk through a beach barefoot or through a field of grass. These materials also extend up into walls, to create both privacy and allow to user to feel the texture with their hands as well. 

This station connects the user and their physicality to the physicality of the space. 

Station 3: Breathing

The final station is the breathing station, which encourages the user to focus in on themselves, by focusing on their breathing. ​The station itself has 3 ponds with benches on which the user can sit. Each pond has a different breathing exercise on a board next to it, in addition to the exercises listed in the booklet that the user has. The space is meant to be relaxing, but the point of this space is to have the user really focus on themselves. 

Mindfulness begins and ends with the user's focus on their breath, so this station gives the user a technique they can use in any space at any time easily to calm themselves. 

Change Overtime

The final page in the book allows the user to reflect on their experience as well as see how their journey with mindfulness has grown overtime. With each exercise at the bottom of the page, the user tallies each time their mind wandered when completing the task. It is inevitable that the user’s mind will wander, but the purpose of mindfulness is being able to redirect the mind to the task at hand. The hope is that the user will be able to come to this park multiple times, and overtime they become more comfortable with the idea of mindfulness, tracking their own journey and growth through these reflection pages. 

© 2020 by Mihika Bansal