AMITA's hanging leaf sculpture was designed by artist John Knott, founder of Bent Fabrication.

Photo by Attic Fire Photography

A breath of fresh air in the great outdoors comes with a host of health and wellness benefits, which is a main reason rooftop gardens are taking root in hospitals across the nation. However, despite their mission to uplift the moods of patients and staff, a trip outside isn’t always possible for vulnerable patients. When patients can’t go outdoors, many hospitals are bringing the outdoors inside through designs inspired by nature.

The design of the AMITA Health Cancer Institute & Outpatient Center in Hinsdale, Ill.,includes a two-story gathering space at the heart of the building’s circulation with a hanging leaf sculpture as the lobby’s main attraction. Although the artwork consists of 3-D metal hanging form aircraft cables, the green, blue and gold hues of the undulating leaves gives it a natural feel.

Lee Emma Running, associate professor, Grinnell College, designed an art installation that uses hydrangea flowers as its primary motif.

Photo by Cameron Campbell Integrated Studio

The Queens-Long Island Renal Institute in New Hyde Park, N.Y., is another health care facility inspired by nature. The dialysis center placed graphics of sky and clouds on the facility’s ceiling and used calming blue, green and beige tones throughout the interior design.

Effie Hall, a former chemotherapy patient at Grinnell (Iowa) Regional Medical Center (GRMC), says the building’s nature motifs brought her a sense of calm during an intense medical situation. The center’s infusion suite features a 3-D mural of painted flowers and hand-cut silhouettes.

“Being diagnosed with cancer is scary,” Hall says. “The trepidation quickly disappeared as I walked into the GRMC chemo unit. The art and the space of the chemotherapy infusion suite helped to turn my chemo treatment into a life-changing experience. I felt like I entered not a hospital wing, but a modern sanctuary.”

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