Credit Portrait : © Jean-Luc Luyssen / Madame Figaro & Felipe Ribon
Supporting patients with terminal illnesses is a notion confronted daily by staff in specialized medical centres, a step beyond the therapeutic mission bestowed upon them. It is also the source of thinking conducted by the designer Mathieu Lehanneur at the request of the Diaconesses Croix Saint-Simon hospital group in Paris which wished to provide more psychological rather than therapeutic support for its patients.
Hospital protocol wanted a creator, and not a medical practitioner, to envisage the device, so as to convey a more sensitive rather than simply technical dimension. ‘I thought about how to enable a discussion to be kick-started between the patient, the family and the medical profession in a context where it is difficult to talk about projects or the future. Very simply about what builds a conversation between two people. In a certain way, the idea was to talk about the current weather conditions to circumvent the question of the time remaining.’ As if this rather banal discussion about tomorrow’s weather was becoming a true existential dilemma. ‘I also liked being a step ahead of death itself: perhaps I will not be there tomorrow, but I know what tomorrow will look like!’
Tomorrow is another day is a glimmer of hope which is spiritual but very present physically. Mathieu Lehanneur has conceived an object of contemplation which in the same way as a television screen or a painting can be suspended easily in each hospitable room. Down to the last detail as an internal technological system transcribes the meteorological data collected on the internet in real time and changes it into a digital animation identical to the predicted sky. ‘Tomorrow is another day is akin to a porthole continuously broadcasting the state of the sky: a vision which is both realistic and impressionistic, varying from a clear blue sky to rainy weather. It is a window onto tomorrow’s sky; a small jump ahead in time.’ Obviously, the device is programmed to reproduce a Parisian sky but the parameters are easily changed to adapt to any geographical location ‘Such a context is one of dreams for a designer, as everything is combined: medical; emotional; spiritual. This pleases me – the design is provided with the opportunity to confront questions surrounding life and death …’
This project was achieved as part of the Nouveaux Commanditaires projects supported by the Fondation de France. This initiative enables any group of individuals which expresses a desire and justifies the need to commission a project of artistic value from a creator (artist, designer, architect…) with an aim of general interest.