The sights, sounds and smells of a hospital can make it a terrifying place, especially for children, but it doesn’t have to be that way. Vital Arts, a British arts organization in charge of introducing art to Britain’s hospitals, had 15 artists collaborate to turn the interior of London Royal Children’s Hospital into as fun and colourful a place as a hospital can be.
Despite being limited by the fact that hospital environments need to be easy to clean, the artists were still able to use vinyl, ceramics, wood and even rugs to liven up these hospitals, each approaching the wards they decorated with their own unique style.
The designs are so fun and wonderful, I kind of wish that it wasn’t just a children’s hospital!
Trauma and gastroenterology (Wing 7D) by Morag Myerscough
“The piece has a huge amount of references that had been embedded in my memory for many years and came out all together at one time. So there are elements of circus, organic, art deco, Asian culture, Victorian architecture and the list goes on so a real mash-up that came out of my head onto paper and then onto the walls”
“The whole aim of the piece was to make a ward that would help to bring some joy to the young patients and parents with colour and some fun that would be warm and welcoming”
Haematology (Ward 7F) by Donna Wilson
“One of the most important things for me was to make the hospital not feel like a hospital. I wanted the patients, parents and nurses all to feel relaxed, happy and stimulated by the environment that surrounds them and by using design you can lift the mood and well-being of the people there”
“I’ve enjoyed seeing and hearing the reactions of not just the children but the parents too who are so pleased that the ward feels happier, colourful and less sterile and intimidating. This makes it so worthwhile and hugely rewarding for me as a designer”
Paediatric Assessment and Short Stay Unit (Ward 7C (B)) by Chris Haughton
“Rather than numbering each room Haughton decided to give each room a different animal character; a lion room, a parrot room and a fish room etc”
“In the corridors, vinyl is used to create a gathering of life-sized animals including a dinosaur peering down from the ceiling, all looked after by a monkey dressed as a doctor”
Respiratory (Ward 7E) by Miller Goodman, 2014
“Wood is a traditional warm medium that soulfully ages softening with play. It is traditional and always evokes childhood memories of play. We hope that the mix of bright vinyl colours and wooden characters encourages and entertains the child as well as wishes them a speedy recovery”
Elevator Lobbies by Katharine Morling
“Featuring performing rhinos, butterflies and train tracks made from rulers, Collective Memories of the London presents a dream-like version of the everyday world”
“Ceramicist Katharine Morling spent six-weeks on children’s wards working with patients to create sketchbooks recalling favourite memories and treasured toys. Morling then used these sketchbooks to develop porcelain sculptures for her commission for the new children’s hospital”
Throughout All Wards by Doran
“A seminal moment for me was when a three-year-old girl stopped crying the moment she saw the curtains, pointing excitedly to the hidden cats and rabbits. That’s when I knew my design had worked”
Paediatric Critical Care (Ward 6c) by Tord Boontje
“Alluding to renewal and growth, the work contains animals and elements in energising colours for children to find and discover. The larger drawings are very finely detailed and invite you to discover new elements day after day”
Activity Space (7th Floor) by Cottrell and Vermeulen and Morag Myerscough
“We wanted to create a place that was an escape for the young patients, an engaging place that was fun, playful & colourful, but at the same time gave the opportunity for the whole family to relax together”
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