“One day there will be a healthcare service that caters for life with disease. Until then we have to imagine what it might feel like,” says speculative designer Allison Thomson of her Chronic Facility project.
The Chronic Facility is an alternative system for treating people with chronic disease, based on the service rituals and systems of a restaurant. It suggests a future outpatient department of the UK’s National Health Service that takes a holistic approach to healthcare by providing a language to discuss issues of living with disease, treatments and diagnosis.
Thomson designed this speculative service from a series of creative modelling workshops where scientists were asked to imagine themselves as chefs and then build their research using food as the medium. This project designs a way for the public (more specifically people with multiple sclerosis) to engage in and understand science. It also gives people tools – metaphors, physical materials, imagery and confidence – to have conversations about what happens inside their bodies.
As an offshoot to this project, Thompson also created the Five Minute Meal film series in which the scientists explain how to make these models at home. Some of the meals are “How the eye is effected in MS”, “Why identical twins don’t remain identical throughout life” and “The anatomy of the spinal cord”.