eNews Archive > Spring 2016
Sky Factory eNews - Spring 2016
A Family Revelation at Rush University Medical Center

On March 30th, the Marker and Bednarz families, distinguished members of the Rush and Oak Park Hospitals, along with Sky Factory representatives, came together for an evening dedication ceremony at The Woman's Board Center for Radiation Therapy at Rush University Medical Center. The group officially unveiled The Thomas P. and…

  Featured Installation: Vendome Hospital Offices

Vendome Hospital in Vendome, France, recently incorporated a series of award-winning Luminous SkyCeilings into one of their interior office spaces. This network of six virtual skylights was designed to create a single, integrated biophilic illusion of open skies.
Like Vendome, more and more hospitals are taking advantage of the restorative…

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A Family Revelation at Rush University Medical Center

On March 30th, the Marker and Bednarz families, distinguished members of the Rush and Oak Park Hospitals, along with Sky Factory representatives, came together for an evening dedication ceremony at The Women’s Board Center for Radiation Therapy at Rush University Medical Center.

The group officially unveiled The Thomas P. and Marcia L. Marker Revelation SkyCeiling, the first of its kind in a patient waiting room environment in the United States. The plaque commemorates and details the therapeutic value of Sky Factory's Luminous SkyCeilings, the only research-verified virtual skylights in the world.

This architectural gift capped a two-year project that began when Sheri Marker-Bednarz, who recently retired from the Rush Medical Center as the Vice President of Human Resources, and her brother Mark Marker, principal at MD Marker & Associates (now retired), a management consultant firm specializing in business strategy, sought to bestow a meaningful contribution to the healing environment at Rush Medical.

"The gift was inspired by The Comprehensive Breast Cancer Clinic and the extraordinary spectrum of Rush staff who treated our mom," says Sheri. "During her treatment at the clinic, we were incredibly grateful for the phenomenal Rush physicians at her disposal."

The installation was initially intended for the lounge at The Comprehensive Breast Cancer Center, but when the ceiling proved to be unsuitable to retrofit a Luminous SkyCeiling, Shawnda Mays, the Administrative Director at Rush Medical Center, proposed that the virtual skylight be installed in the patient lounge at The Women's Board Center for Radiation Therapy.

"Shawnda was great," says Mark Marker. "She was the organizing force behind this effort bringing people together from engineering, facility planning, and philanthropy to look at the best location."

"We're very fortunate to have the first installation of this product," said Dr. Ross Abrams, Chair of Radiation Oncology Dept. who gave the opening remarks and thanked both families for their philanthropic work.

"I am incredibly pleased and honored that Sheri and her family and Sky Factory have continued the relationship with the department and by honoring us with this beautiful gift, which has a great deal of thought and wisdom behind it."

Sky Factory's Luminous SkyCeilings earned the prestigious Jury Award (2014), bestowed by an internationally acclaimed jury of architects and designers at the Architizer A+ Awards. The A+ Awards represent architecture's largest global award program, held annually at a black tie gala in New York City during design week, NYCxDesign.

The Revelation SkyCeiling, designed for larger interior spaces, earned the Popular Choice Award in the Ceiling Finishes Category the following year. The winner is selected among five finalists handpicked by Architizer's prestigious jury. The finalists are then showcased online during a two-week period where design professionals and enthusiasts around the globe cast their vote.

The Revelation SkyCeiling earned the top recognition from over 40,000 votes cast.

"After almost a decade and a half in the business, we appreciate that leading architects and designers recognize the genuine therapeutic value that biophilic illusions of nature have in enclosed interiors," said Skye Witherspoon.

"There is an entire building category type, deep plan buildings, which by design, feature large areas of isolated interiors. Applying Sky Factory's Open Skies Image Technology, our team of artists and engineers can give rise to what we call perceived open space. When occupants perceive an organic connection to a natural exterior, the sensation triggers biophilic engagement, the relaxation response we feel in natural environments," Witherspoon added.

Among the distinguished guests at the dedication ceremony at Rush were Peter Butler, President, Chair of Health System Management (HSM), Rush University; Tom Deutsch, Provost, Rush University; Mike Mulroe, Vice-President of Operations, Rush University Medical Center; Skye Witherspoon, CEO, Sky Factory; and of course Sheri and Mark's extended family.

The Revelation SkyCeiling was named not only in honor of Sheri and Mark's mother, Marcia L. Marker, but also in loving memory of their father, Thomas P. Marker.

Featured Installation: Vendome Hospital Offices


Vendome Hospital in Vendome, France, recently incorporated a series of award-winning Luminous SkyCeilings into one of their interior office spaces. This network of six virtual skylights was designed to create a single, integrated biophilic illusion of open skies. 

Like Vendome, more and more hospitals are taking advantage of the restorative qualities of simulated exterior views to nature. Whereas these architectural features have become the standard in diagnostic and therapeutic radiology treatment rooms, their restorative effectiveness has found new value in windowless offices and areas of the hospital where staff do not have access to daylight view or a green exterior. 

Having visual access to a green exterior is most sought-after feature in commercial architecture and biophilic illusions are particularly effective in areas of a building observer, but unlike symbolic images, illusions of nature uniquely engage areas of the brain involved in spatial cognition.  

According to published research, Sky Factory's open sky photographic compositions engage the cerebellum, often involved in depth perception. By creating perceived open space, an illusory skylight deepens biophilic engagement-the alert, but relaxed psycho-physiology we experience in undisturbed, natural environments. 

Unlike most nature photography that elicits positive distraction, biophilic illusions are designed to recall a spatial as well as visual memory of natural environments. Rather than distract the observer, biophilic illusions reduce mental activity by creating an organic connection to perceived natural exterior that facilitates cognitive restoration. 

The WELL Building Standard® has shed new light on the importance of biophilic elements in the built environment and enclosed interiors are a top area of concern.

Vendome Hospital

We Want to Hear From You: Sky Factory Customer Survey


At the Sky Factory, we strive for world-class service. Your feedback is essential for our team to deliver better service, better products, and award-winning installations.

Please take this brief survey and help us identify what’s most important for you.

Take the Sky Factory Customer Survey





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