Isla Ewart

Product Design BSc (Hons)

A bedside table combining materiality and lightings’ grounding properties to create relaxed sleeping environments.


Isla Ewart

Ambient is a bedside table designed for short term stays in mental health inpatient care. It explores how lighting and materiality can work together to comfort those in stressful environments such as this. With strong interaction and intuitive exploration Ambient looks at the grounding properties of touch and sight; how they can be used to ease anxiety subconsciously.

Often new sleeping environments take time to get used to, especially in extenuating circumstances such as an overnight hospital stay or longer-term inpatient care. Ambient looks to reduce the added anxiety by helping people wind down through a series of eight lighting sequences, colours and brightness. Giving users the chance to select their own lighting depending on how they're feeling at the time, to offer a sense of security and control over a situation where, often, the user loses this.

There are no instructions with Ambient, it is an intuitive piece of holistic design that allows the user to explore and use it how they wish. It is controlled by eight blocks of varied materials, exploring texture, colour and weight. Each block has a corresponding RFID tag which activates a unique light sequence when placed on the red activation square in the middle of the table. 

Immediately after placing a block on the activation square the acrylic case will light up, releasing a soft night light like glow with the corresponding light sequence. This sequence runs on a loop of four hours before turning off.

sketchbook, left page: prototype images, right page: sketch of final design
paper blocks, pattern of each material printed on each block
MDF table in workshop
MDF model next to altered sketch showing updated sizes for final model
light up grid with paper blocks
table top with block grid
acrylic block grid with empty red activation square
Blocks made in actual materials with red acrylic activation squares underneath