Scheduled to open it's doors in April, Emily's House is the Philip Aziz Centre's latest project. It is a 10-bed facility that will occupy the former Governor's House at the old Don Jail (near Broadview and Gerrard), and will be Toronto's first Pediatric Palliative Care Hospice. It will give children who are diagnosed with terminal illnesses a comfortable, home-like setting in which to live their lives with all of the conveniences of a hospital but without the cold, sterile, institutional feeling that is often associated with such settings.
Hilditch Architects, the architect managing the development of this project, have commissioned the graduating class of Sheridan College's Furniture Program to design and produce furniture for the space. This is exciting in that it promises to create a setting with unique furniture pieces that directly respond to the space, and it's residents' needs.
I have collaborated with my friend and fellow designer, Lauren Reed, to create a dining table for the house that will serve as a gathering place for the residents and their families. It is a piece that we are calling the Cloud Table (see model photos below).
The form of the Cloud Table stems from our study of how a wheelchair interacts with a table. While most traditional dining tables feature a leg and apron understructure that impedes a lot of wheelchairs, the understructure of the Cloud Table is tucked well below the table surface allowing for optimal leg space. Most importantly, we found that the problem encountered by a lot of wheelchairs was the limit that their armrests placed on how close they could pull into table surfaces. The unique repeating round shape of this table top allows wheelchairs to pull in tight to the table surface, giving users a range of motion and reach across the surface equal to those sitting in a standard side chair.
Each of the four legs that support the table will be a fun and unique turning that will provide a familiar aesthetic often associated with harvest tables and the idea of 'home'. We hope that it provides a playfulness that will intrigue the the curious, tactile and imaginative nature of the children using the space.
Stay tuned to our blog for updates on this amazing project.