In 2015, we joined forces with Architecture 00. Together, we enjoy collaborating in a shared environment where strategic, urban and social designers, architects, programmers and economists practice design beyond its traditional borders. 00 work with individuals, governments, corporations and communities to solve problems and anticipate change, and to design successful platforms and places. As a studio it aims to reach beyond the design of objects themselves to the social, economic and environmental systems behind them.

The Lullaby Factory

Studio Weave has transformed an awkward exterior space landlocked by buildings into the Lullaby Factory – a secret world that cannot be seen except from inside the hospital and cannot be heard by the naked ear, only by tuning in to its radio frequency or from a few special listening pipes.

The multi-phased redevelopment of Great Ormond Street Hospital, in London’s Bloomsbury area, means that the recently completed Morgan Stanley Clinical Building and the 1930s Southwood Building currently sit uncomfortably close together. The latter is due to be demolished in 15 years, but in the intervening period large windows in the west elevation of the MSCB look directly onto a pipe-ridden brickwork facade, with the gap between the two less than one metre in places.

Our aim for this project was to re-imagine the Southwood façade as the best version of itself, accepting and celebrating its qualities and oddities; and rather than hiding what is difficult, creating something unique and site specific.

In our competition entry we proposed that the Southwood Building, with its oodles of mysterious pipes and plant is not really the Southwood Building, but the Lullaby Factory, manufacturing and releasing gentle, beautiful lullabies to create a calming and uplifting environment for the young patients to recover in.

We have designed a fantasy landscape reaching ten storeys in height and 32 metres in length, which can engage the imagination of everyone, from patients and parents to hospital staff, by providing an interesting and curious world to peer out onto. Aesthetically the Lullaby Factory is a mix of an exciting and romantic vision of industry, and the highly crafted beauty and complexity of musical instruments.

The Lullaby Factory consists of two complimentary elements: the physical factory that appears to carry out the processes of making lullabies and the soundscape. Composer and sound artist Jessica Curry has composed a brand new lullaby especially for the project, which children can engage with through listening pipes next to the canteen or from the wards by tuning into a special radio station.

Our design is mindful of the fact that the space between the two buildings is very tight and any attempt to tidy it up too much would have resulted in significantly reducing the sense of space and the amount of daylight reaching inside the surrounding buildings. Our design even incorporates old tap and gauges reclaimed from a hospital boilerhouse that was in the process of being decommissioned.

We hope the project will inspire engagement in a variety of ways from children’s paintings to a resource for play specialists to a generator for future commissions.

Our Lullaby Factory was founded in 1852 by my great, great, great, great grandfather. This is the oldest Lullaby Factory in the world still in operation. We’re very proud of our Lullaby Factory and the great lullabies it produces for the Sleepies in hospital and beyond. We hope you enjoy your visit and don’t forget to take advantage of the complimentary nap at the end of the tour!

Mr Lambert Echo and his Whispersonnel

How are the Lullabies Built?

Before any lullabies can be built, we need to collect the base ingredients. The two main collection tools are the Whistful Fillment Filaments, and the Satellite Lilters. The Whistful Fillment Filaments are very long invisible grasses that reach up from the rooftops and comb the air for wishes, the most important ingredients. The second tools are the Lilters that lie high up in the sky and listen to the planetary music. Planetary music is the undetectable basis for all music and dreams and it was the invention of Lilters that allowed the earliest dream factories to be set up. The Lilters can detect the planetary music and communicate it down to the factory by a sort of singing with their Lollips.

The third and most revolutionary collection tools are the Whiskissing Bristles. Whiskissing Bristles pick up on lullabies already sung and now lolloping around in the atmosphere with nothing to do. Incorporating these elements has the benefit of putting to use idle lulls but it also importantly encourages evolution of lullabies as the new lullabies are imbued with the ancient wisdom of lullabies throughout the ages.

The first process in building the lullabies is Allegocation. This is where a good mix of wishes, planetary music, and snippets of idle lulls are chosen and fused together in the Lullabuilder. The Lullabuilder twizzles all the ingredients until the ideas are perfectly combined and conducive.

We then use the Pickled Picture Peeper to check the general composition of the lullaby. At this stage the lullabies can’t be seen or heard by naked eyes or ears and before the invention of the Pickled Picture Peeper the quality of the final lullaby was down to a lot of guesswork. With this great invention, we can check that the balance is perfect and if not, we pass the lullaby through the Echogs that adjust the balance by doubling up different elements until the perfect ratios are achieved.

Next comes the addition of Sonorous Syrup which is the critical songifying ingredient. Without this, the lullabies would be more like dreams and unable to help the Sleepies get to sleep in the first place. Sonorous Syrup is really the thing that sets the Lullaby Factory apart. Dream Factories are of course quite common and a good deal of dream-building technology goes into the Lullaby Factory, however the key difference is that the Lullaby Factory delivers a product that can reach the Sleepies while they’re still awake and ease them off into a happy sleep.

Once the lullaby is in sound form, it goes into the Solilooting Plant. This plant takes up a large amount of the factory as the lullabies are whizzed through long tubes with keys and valves for tuning. The Solilooting Plant’s job is to add just the right amount of Hushadows and Hahalickles, ensuring the lullaby is soothing but not sad, and comforting but not too funny as this keeps you awake.

The tuned lullaby is then put through the Serenitwinckler where the Auranoments are added. These are the little decorative bits that give the lullaby its magical flavour. The final stage is elonging the lullaby into a long slow flow. Once out of the Serenitwinckler it’s in the form of Humabubs which are small bubbles of jam-packed lullaby. The Lollobubble Looper then stretches and folds the Humabubs into long looping lazes with its Concording Oars and stores them in Amber Chambers until they’re needed.

How are the Lullabies Delivered?

The delivery of the lullabies is a twofold process. First, the Wistings Lisper listens out for when a lullaby is needed. When it picks up on a Snoozesity signal from one of the Sleepies, it releases Fluentoots, the little parcels of empty sound that activate the Fluentooting Whopper that whoops the lullabies from the Amber Chambers through the pipes and out through the delivery trumpets to the Sleepy.

Something we’re often asked is why the Sleepies never remember the lullaby. This is because the most effective time to deliver a lullaby is in those muffley moments just before sleep which it is impossible to remember. This is the time when the Sleepies minds are moving over into Dreamlands and a good lullaby will ensure a safe flight into a happy, wonderful dream.

Future Advances

Here at the Lullaby Factory we’re always on the lookout for new technologies and inventions to help us better cast the Sleepies into happy Dreamlands. Recently the Sleepies have invented a machine that can tune in to the lullabies and play them on some sort of Humurmuring Transmitter. This is very exciting and we currently have a team carrying out extensive research. We hope to be able to use the technology to deliver lullabies much further afield. In the meantime, if you know how to get your hands on one of those Humurmuring Transmitters, you can listen to our lullabies whenever you feel in the mood.