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The Big Anxiety

How can we best design a pod to support good mental health, and calm, focused attention? This was the challenge laid down in The Big Anxiety’s mental health design competition, supported by the NSW Minister for Mental Health, in association with PTW Architects and UNSW. Advancing state-of-the-art design for mental health, under the mentorship of executive director Diane Jones and her team from PTW, Professor Jill Bennett and Professor Fang Xu, students from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) were tasked with creating an anxiety pod for use in public spaces.

The two selected pods, named The Capsule and Mori Central, were created with the dual intent of raising awareness for mental health and creating a meditative space.

After being displayed as part of The Big Anxiety Festival, the pods were permanently moved to Ingleburn High School and Penrith Public School as prototypes for student use. The manufacture of the pods was undertaken on a pro-bono basis by Growthbuilt, with structural engineering advice from D’Ambrosio Consulting and the support of the NSW Minister for Mental Health, Women and Ageing.

PTW is proud to be associated with the month-long Big Anxiety biennial Sydney festival which promotes mental health and wellbeing in projects that combine arts, design, science and creativity. Unlike any other arts festival, The Big Anxiety has a unique practical focus, harnessing creative expertise to improve our capacity to take care of ourselves and others.

Winner of the Best New Event at the Australian Event Awards 2018, the festival is a world leading initiative of UNSW Sydney in association with the Black Dog Institute with more than 25 partnerships across mental health and community organisations – including remote communities – as well as leading arts and community venues.