A semi-circular structure surrounded by plants will be a calming conversation starter inside Tūranga.
The Green Connection Pod, which is a wooden frame lined with 36 indoor plants, provides seating for two people face-to-face and is designed to promote relaxed conversations.
It will be installed on the ground floor of Tūranga in early September and will remain there until the end of October with special programming planned for Mental Health Awareness Week from 23 to 29 September.
The pod has been designed by Jordan Hampson of The Green Lab, formerly known as Greening the Rubble, an organisation that aims to create urban green spaces to support social connection and wellbeing in Christchurch.
Research shows plants promote wellbeing and anecdotal evidence suggests they might also make people feel more comfortable about initiating conversations that would otherwise be challenging, says Green Lab Project Manager Khye Hitchcock.
“In 2018 we created The Green Lounge for the BizDojo co-working space. People using the area said it improved their general mood and they were able to have more genuine, vulnerable conversations when surrounded by plants.”
Khye says the Connection Pod takes the essence of The Green Lounge but delivers it in a wooden flat-pack kit.
“There’s not a lot of space for intimate personal connection in our urban environment so we’re testing a design for a space where people hopefully feel relaxed and able to interact directly with each other."
The Green Lab, which is supported by the Council’s Enliven Places Programme, has partnered with the All Right? Campaign and Christchurch City Libraries staff to design the user experience of the pod at Tūranga.
All Right? team members have written some conversation starters that will be provided inside, as well as phone numbers for support lines and wellbeing information.
Tūranga Library Manager Chris Hay says it’s a creative and positive project. “There’s a lot of evidence to show that green environments have a beneficial impact on our mental and physical health so it will be interesting to see how providing this peaceful refuge inside the library might encourage conversation and a sense of community."