The Sky Factory

The Sky Factory

Fairfield, IA


COSEM Auber, Paris, France

COSEM, a multidisciplinary medical group offering a wide range of healthcare services, refurbished its 3rd center in Paris, in Auber, which receives 800,000+ patients annually.

COSEM Auber hosts multiple practices in this 1,600 square meter facility. Both the general reception lounge, on the first floor, and the radiology imaging center are located deep inside the building.

Due to high patient volume, isolated interiors, and the deleterious effects of enclosed spaces on productivity, health, and well-being, an innovative solution was required to counter the claustrophobic nature of these high traffic areas. 

While research in cognitive neuroscience has confirmed that representational nature art imagery elicits a neural response corresponding to positive emotional states, no one has examined illusions as a visual phenomenon that humans are also hardwired to register immediately (spatial cognition).

The international award-winning paper, Neural Correlates of Nature Stimuli: an fMRI Study, published in the peer reviewed Health Environments Research and Design Journal found that photographic Open Sky Compositions when properly designed, activate the cerebellum, a part of the brain involved in depth perception.

This finding confirms that biophilic illusions can be deployed as a visual technology that, rather than distract the mind with positive representational content, can reduce mental agitation as the observer resonates with the illusion’s perceived spatial properties, as well as the positive emotional content.

The result is biophilic engagement, a cognitive process that leads to a deeper automatic “relaxation response” in the physiology. This phenomenon stems from the biophilia hypothesis first proposed by Edward O. Wilson, the eminent Harvard biologist, who stated that our innate genetic-based need to affiliate with nature holds untapped psycho-physiological benefits.

Sky Factory’s seven custom virtual skylights at COSEM Auber were selected for their unique ability to affect spatial cognition and create a restorative environment with a life-affirming Prospect and Refuge simulation.

Read more

Status: Built
Location: Paris, FR
Firm Role: Designer and manufacturer