Interactive Sculpture and Screen-Based Floor Stations Soften Waiting Room Experience


To make gene therapy patients calm and serene in a potentially intimidating waiting room, we created a beautiful and calming educational installation that would serve as a gentle, reassuring distraction and a celebration of uniqueness and belonging.

Nominating Company: Publicis Sapient/Second Story, Miami, Florida
Venue: Sanford Health/Sanford Imagenetics, Sioux Falls, South Dakota
Project: Sanford Health/Sanford Imagenetics
Category: Healthcare Environments

Our strategy was to use playful, unexpected interactive experiences to calm, delight, and foster understanding. Nobody likes ordinary doctors’ waiting rooms. Often, people in them feel unwell as they wait for possibly unpleasant news and the prospect of being poked and prodded. In the case of Sanford Imagenetics, add to that the fear of the unknown, and you have a recipe for some very on-edge patients.

But what if we could make a waiting room not like a waiting room at all? With the nervous mindset of the patients arriving at Sanford Imagenetics topmost in our minds, we conceived of a larger-than-life interactive sculpture that would transform Sanford’s somewhat bare and institutional-looking waiting room into a serene world of light, color, gentle motion and reassurance through understanding.

We wanted to help overcome people’s trepidation about gene therapy, making them feel at ease in a new and potentially intimidating space.

Sanford Health is a leader in cutting-edge gene therapy. Far from the splashy headlines and speculative fiction often associated with genetics in the medical field, it is working to use genetic testing to help predict the effectiveness of medicines on individuals and the likelihood of inheritable illnesses before providing genetic counseling. All of this is done to better predict health outcomes and guide patients, therefore treating them more precisely, sensitively, and effectively.

Despite the many positive enhancements personalized medicine can bring patients and the amazing healthcare breakthroughs they can make possible for humanity, many people remain skeptical and fearful about the idea of gene-based treatments. Even when they have made the decision to come to Sanford Imagenetics for evaluation or treatment, they come with misgivings and anxiety.


In the waiting room, guests are greeted by a cloud-like form hanging from the glass ceiling — a cluster of individual cubes suspended from a subtle sub-structure. As they walk under it to check in, they see that the seemingly random cubes are working together to create a familiar shape in the cloud structure: DNA’s double helix.

Beneath the sculpture, moveable, screen-based floor stations greet guests with a playful moment of interaction, inviting them to discover how the characteristics of their hand, face, or voice are a result of genetic variation.

Each interaction with the floor stations causes light to ripple across the sculpture above – a reminder that each guest is a part of the wider human picture and that one small action can make a big impact.

Since the launch of Sanford Imagenetics, we have received enthusiastic feedback from patients and staff.

By using the entire environment as our storytelling canvas, we sparked curiosity about genetics and introduced patients to a realm of wondrous possibility for healthcare. We were able to give gene therapy patients a calm and serene waiting room while making them feel at ease in this otherwise intimidating space.

Publicis Sapient/Second Story team:
Creative Lead: Adi Marom
Software Lead: Chris Carlson
Engineering Lead: Adam Paikowsky
Production Lead: Erin Gouveia
Studio Director: Danielle Amaral
Senior Engineering Specialist: Matt Arnold
Content Strategist: Ashley Cohen
Senior Technologist: Don Davies
Design Director: Chris DeWan
Experience Designer/Content Strategist: Kate Farina
Technologist: Mudit Gupta
Environmental Designer: Jeian Jeong
Producer: Paige Kenmore
Designer: Jinha Kim
Creative Director: Ben Kreukniet
Studio Technology Manager: Matthew Lewis
Technologist: Adam Paikowsky
Director of Technology: Hunter Spence
Senior Environmental Designer: Jordan Tull
Designer: James Zanoni
Supporting Company:
William Wells

Publicis Sapient/Second Story won a 2019 APEX Award in the Healthcare Environments category.

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