Pediatric Cancer Center Barcelona

To humanize the architecture, adapting it to children’s needs – The new Pediatric Cancer Center of Barcelona.


The Pediatric Cancer Center Barcelona is a building dedicated exclusively to the treatment and research of childhood cancer, located in the surroundings of the Sant Joan de Déu Hospital, the center behind the project. The Rai Pinto Studio and Arauna Studio teams have developed a design project for the spaces of this new building designed by the architects at Pinearq.

The location of the center on the border between the city of Barcelona and the slopes of the Collserola Natural Park inspired the integration of a nature-based narrative in the design. Through observation and play, the interiors of the center show us how many organisms in our natural environment have developed remarkable characteristics in order to survive. These examples are allegorically linked to the resilience and determination shown by the children being treated at the center.

The spaces are decorated with the shapes of the natural world. In this way, what we often do not see becomes visible and we see the value of nature and its extraordinary creativity in finding ways to live. Some examples we can find include butterflies that make long trips and take care of each other at night to protect themselves; seeds that are carried by the wind for long distances; birds that migrate between continents; and flowers with many surprising properties.

Large-scale silhouettes cover surfaces and emerge from the walls and windows, visually modifying the perception of the architectural layout through their organic forms. This gives the forms some subtlety, leaving space for interpretation, encouraging play, creativity and participation.

Throughout the building there are several living and games rooms, each one themed with a different ecosystem of the planet: the Sahara, the Arctic, the Amazon, as well as the high mountains or the seabed.

An interactive installation has been designed in the main hall in collaboration with Domestic Data Streamers studio. A virtual forest created by 5 giant double-sided screens act as a portal to the outdoors, and the nature of Collserola. This installation, which seeks to bring nature closer to the children of the hospital, plays with the native flora and fauna and nature’s transitions (the hours, the seasons and the weather). It is a magical forest, brought to life by the interactions of the children, who can fill the screens with colors and personalized animals, or generate a tornado of wind or butterflies. All this is achieved through 5 interaction totems that play with the idea of ​​altering the digital through different physical interactions

The seating arrangement for the living room has been custom designed in collaboration with the industrial design team Mermelada Estudio. This furniture system is inspired by invertebrate animals and consists of sets of sofas, benches, armchairs and poufs that fit together to combine rest and play.

The spatial design project for the Pediatric Cancer Center Barcelona opens a new line of work linked to that which Rai Pinto Studio and Arauna Studio have developed in recent years in the interiors of the Sant Joan de Déu Hospital, winning international awards such as Art Directors Club, Interior Design Magazine, D&AD or ADG Laus.

This project meets a long list of needs from the center, such as the spatial design, graphic design applied to spaces, furniture design, textile design and signage, among others, such as interactive elements or the acknowledgement of the donors that have made the center possible. All work in unison towards the same ultimate goal: to humanize the architecture of the hospital, adapt it to children’s needs so they feel comfortable and can play through an unpleasant experience.


Client: SJD Barcelona Children’s Hospital

Location: Barcelona

Year: 2022

Concept and creative direction: Rai Pinto Studio / Arauna Studio

Interior design: Rai Pinto Studio

Graphic design: Arauna Studio

Interactive design: Domestic Data Streamers

Interactive programming: Edu Prats

Seating design: Mermelada Estudio

Contents: La Mandarina de Newton

Project team: Xavier Goñi, Giovanna Giampetruzzi, Raimond Pinto

Architecture: Pinearq

Photography: Arnau Rovira