Research

RESET Your Stress: A collaboration between UNStudio and SCAPE - Part 1


Can a space adapt to your stress levels? UNStudio and SCAPE join forces with a multidisciplinary team of neuroscience, software and technology experts to tackle stress in the workplace. Their exhibition ‘Work 3.0 – A Joyful Sense at Work’ will take place at the Salone del Mobile in Milan from 4 - 9 April 2017. Following the Salone, a second article will share the results of the exhibition.

View the RESET website and video here.

Final preparations underway for 'Work 3.0 - A Joyful Sense at Work' located at Pavilion 24. Photos: © Oddproduzioni

Testing the Sound Therapy and Intimacy pods, two of the six RESET experiences. Photos: © Oddproduzioni

Background

The ‘Joyful Sense at Work’ exhibition investigates and presents the potential benefits for office workers. Two consequences of an ‘always on’ workforce are increased stress and burnout levels. Work-related stress is the second most frequently reported work-related health problem in Europe, according to the European Agency for Safety and Health at Work’s 2015 European Risk Observatory Report. Stress is a factor in 50 to 60% of all lost working days.

Without an intervention, stress will continue to be a huge financial burden on the overall healthcare system—affecting not only companies, schools, governmental institutions but most important, people’s quality of life. The Responsive Emotional Transformation (RESET) pod addresses the urgent need for stress relief in the workplace by empowering people to deal with stress more effectively.

RESET is a fully immersive, modular structure that features six different scientifically-proven stress reduction methods in a playful and interactive manner. RESET recognises that people manage their stress in a variety of ways. For some, meditation causes stress, while for others it is a welcomed opportunity to refocus. RESET will allow people to discover which methods work best for them.

In ‘Work 3.0 – A Joyful Sense at Work’ in Milan, visitors watch a short introductory film and are fitted for both an Emotiv EEG brain sensor and an ECG heart monitor watch. Once the sensors are ready, visitors can enter either the passive or the active experience. ‘Intimacy’ is all about inspiring calm, while ‘Sound’ is built on the principle of sound therapy which shows a direct relationship between the activity level of the participant and the amount of stress reduction. 

RESET serves dual goals. Firstly, the installation teaches us which stress reduction method works best for different individuals. Secondly, the sensors record visitors’ responses to the stress reduction experiences and provide real-time feedback.

To try out the RESET experience visit the exhibition at Pavilion 24, next to the SaloneSatellite. If you can't make it to the Salone, visit the RESET website.

Implementation

RESET is mobile and modular, meaning it can pop up anywhere and in numerous different formations. It can be used by anyone aged 18 or older who is experiencing stress, and it can be installed in companies, schools or public spaces. The activity radius of the human body defines the scale of each unit. The envelope is made of light-weight composite materials designed to complement an office environment and to be stackable. The units are easy to assemble and dismantle, and can be put on a truck in one piece. Private use can involve as few as two experiences while public events incorporate all six experiences plus additional units for a festival experience.

The units are designed as objects that fit anywhere, and distorting the base geometry creates a modularity that allows for various scenarios. Units are angled at 45 and 90 degrees, so two 45-degree units form a corner of 90 degrees and all six units can stand alone in a circle of 360 degrees, forming a full experience cluster. The unique exterior of each unit means the themes are distinguishable from the outside.

Visitors follow a step-by-step process through the different experiences:

Step 1: Introduction
Visitors watch a short film which details the positive aspects of stress management and gives an overview of the experiences to follow. 

Step 2: Experiences
Visitors enter each experience for between three and five minutes. The interior design of each unit is unique in its shape, materiality, colour and light.

Step 3: Feedback
Visitors are encouraged to give feedback following their time in the experiences. On the RESET website, they can access ongoing management tools and prolong the positive after-effects of RESET. Visitors can also install the ‘de-stress’ app and create a digital experience similar to the physical one in RESET.

Intimate physical contact counteracts stress by creating feelings of trust, companionship and community.

The Intimacy experience references prenatal memories in the womb, and creates a feeling of ultimate security — a warm embrace. Visitors walk in, remove their shoes and are asked to ‘find their calm’ in a very comfortable plush environment. Visitors can choose to lie down or find their preferred sitting position. Within this experience, light and sound will identify and adapt to each visitor’s heartbeat. For example, if one moves around and elevates their heartbeat, that affects the overall energy of the space. As one moves into their most relaxed position, the pulsing light and ambient heartbeat sounds will calm to a meditative state.

Meditation produces a deep state of relaxation and a tranquil mind.

The design for the Mind & Body experience creates a pure space free from any distraction, a space that allows for focusing only on the mind and body. The visitor follows a guided meditation process which is projected onto a 3D cube. Shape and light conditions enhance the idea of the immaterial.

A fully immersive sensory experience provides an escape from the present reality.

The opportunity to engage all of one’s senses in an alternate reality distracts from stress and relaxes tensions in the body. The design for the Escape experience enhances the journey from reality to digital and back. A porous skin closes once the visitor enters the space and puts on the VR devices, forming a gradual transition between those two worlds.

Listening to and creating music are proven methods for reducing stress.

A space where people can jam, sing, dance like no-one is watching – in this sound-proof and private space, no one is. The design for the Sound Therapy experience enables multiple elemental aspects of engaging with sound and music. The interior of the space is optimised for acoustic sound and made from sound-proofing material. From banging on electric drum pads to discovering sounds by touching the walls, this space is a fully reactive and interactive music environment. The more active one is, the more the lighting reacts and the mood changes.

Laughter relieves stress by stimulating the release of stress-reducing endorphins.

Laughter also soothes tension, stimulates circulation, aids muscle relaxation and boosts the immune system – all of which help reduce the physical symptoms of stress. Something funny can change everything in an instant, laughter loosens our grip on stress. Stepping inside this laugh room promises to challenge any stress you have. From belly laughs to funny film clips, this room will be hard to take seriously. The design for laughing is based on the idea of creating fun and being fun. As a sort of adult playground, the experience presents a fresh and colourful space that brings out the child in the visitor.

When we are fuelled by stress hormones, our biological and evolutionary make-up demands a release – what is commonly known as the fight or flight response.

A space designed for destruction can help to release some of that tension by enabling people to break things by throwing plates, smashing up an old car or pounding through a plaster wall. Breaking things not your style? There’s also a punching bag and treadmill for getting the tension out. The design for the Fight or Flight experience is made to release physical aggression. The experience includes a punching wall, elements to kick and strike as well as metal surfaces to smash.

Contributions