Loud noises. Bright, flashing lights. Large crowds. These are just a few of the stimuli that can make a live concert or sporting event an overwhelming experience for individuals with sensory sensitivities — often leading to the decisions to leave early, or not even attend at all! At Bon Secours Wellness Arena, however, patrons now have a better choice — a new Sensory Suite designed with these specific needs in mind. The arena has been addressing sensory issues for some time by handing out special sensory bags containing sunglasses, earplugs, fidget toys, a communication card and a weighted blanket. Now, the new suite allows guests to continue to participate in the event but in a space that meets their needs.
Our design team worked closely with community focus groups, gathering insights on how to best help families and groups navigate these difficulties, ultimately creating a graduated approach with different levels of isolation. In the front of the suite, a large glass wall allows patrons to still feel connected to the event, but at a muted level of sound and light. Beanbags and rocking chairs offer guests soothing seating options. Behind the adjacent seclusion wall, guests can completely remove themselves from the experience with de-escalation tools like bubble tubes, fiber optics, and image projectors. Working alongside a partner like Bon Secours Wellness Arena on a project with such immediate community impact has brought us great joy and satisfaction! And, considering it’s the first arena-based sensory suite in South Carolina (and one of very few in the entire nation), we’re proud to help lead the way towards more accessible design for all.
Read more about this project on the WYFF News 4 website, here.