Over £5m Art and Therapeutic Design programme is set to enhance Edinburgh’s new hospital

With less than one year until the £150m development opens its doors, NHS Lothian plans to transform the new hospital building into a vibrant and welcoming place are underway.

Over £5million of funding has been identified to improve the hospital environment and benefit patients and families.  More than 20 projects and 30 different artists have been involved, working with patients young and old to create a totally unique art and therapeutic design programme in what is the largest capital commissioning programme for art in a new hospital in the UK.

To celebrate the innovation and variety of the programme a new blog is being launched showcasing the individual artists and their contribution to the hospital development.

The brand new facility will be home to services from the current Royal Hospital for Sick Children; Department of Clinical Neurosciences (DCN) at the Western General and  the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS). The new build is under construction next to the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh (RIE) on the bioQuarter Campus, Little France and is due to open in spring 2018.

The large scale programme is being funded through £3.1m from the Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity (formally Sick Kids Friends Foundation) and another £2m from the Edinburgh and Lothians Health Foundation. It is being curated and produced by art and design consultant Ginkgo. Projects Director, Tom Littlewood, said: “There is extensive research which demonstrates that art and therapeutic design can help reduce stress and promote patient recovery. Our programme has been built around working with staff, patients, artists and designers to enrich the patient experience particularly within arrival, waiting, treatment and ward spaces to promote a sense of identity and distinctiveness within the hospital environment.

“We are delighted to launch our www.beyondwalls.blog website. Supported by NHS Lothian, this emerging and developing blog will showcase all the individual projects, their artists and their inspiration behind them, during development to installation.”

Janice Mackenzie, clinical director for the RHCYP & DCN Reprovision Project, Edinburgh said: “These projects are all very exciting and are about enhancing patient and family experiences. We will have stained glass windows, musical installations, artwork that brings the building to life and supports healing and recovery. The artists and designers have worked closely with patients and their families as well as staff in the development of their design proposals. They continue to involve them in the process which has been an important factor in the overall ATD Programme.”

“The programme will continue throughout the remaining months of construction and into the early months of 2018 before the new building opens its doors in spring 2018.

“A huge thank you goes to our supporters - without the generosity and continued support from both the Edinburgh & Lothians Health Foundation and Edinburgh Children’s Hospital Charity a programme of this magnitude would not have been possible.”
Highlights from the Art and Therapeutic Design programme include:
1.       RHSC Play and waiting area enhancement: Warren Design and Emily Hogarth

The main RHSC waiting area which is already being referred to as the ‘Pod’, will be filled with integrated technology to create a fun and welcoming escape from clinical areas. The large and airy space is being developed by design team William Warren and Daniel Warren. The team is designing a number of bespoke furniture pieces, as well as features that will include digital technology, activities for young people, and soft play areas. Artist
Emily Hogarth is currently producing some fantastic paper cut out graphics in collaboration with Warren Design to enhance the waiting and play areas in the new RHSC.
2.       RHSC and DCN interview rooms, sitting rooms and drop in centre: Dress for the Weather

Design team Dress for the Weather are developing an enhanced interior design strategy for the interview rooms, the sitting rooms within the new RHSC and DCN and also the RHSC drop-in centre.

The interview rooms are an important and often sensitive environment, and the team has developed a subtle design which aims to make those in the rooms feel both comfortable and secure. A theme has been developed for each of the sitting rooms, relating it to a more domestic counterpart. These include a games room, reading room, and solarium.

The drop-in centre design is multi-functional, adaptable, homely, and will include bespoke patterns created with users and staff of the current service.

Old to New: Kate Ive (Sculptor) / Emma Dunmore (Researcher) / Joachim King (Cabinet Maker)

The focus of this project is to share the identity, history, and stories of the three institutions as they undergo a transition from their original sites to the new build at the bioQuarter, Little France. A series of 19 beautifully crafted wall mounted display cases will showcase archive and historical material (in conjunction with the Lothian Health Services Archive) alongside newly commissioned work. All the content will be thought provoking, educational, descriptive, storytelling and attractive with a personal touch. Researcher Emma Dunmore was commissioned to explore the archival and historical material available whilst Kate Ive has evolved the project into a series of sculptural artworks which reinterpret the histories and stories of the three hospitals.
4.       CAMHS enhanced group areas and bedrooms: Projects Office

The Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services department will be contained within the ground floor of the new hospital, with access to several external courtyards. Design team Projects Office has been appointed to enhance the interior design of the communal areas as well as to create opportunities for patients to personalise their bedrooms during their stay. The team has undertaken lengthy engagement with patients, families and staff, facilitated by artist James Leadbitter. One key theme that emerged as a common response to the question ‘What does good mental health feel like?’ was the environment of the seaside and coast. Projects Office has worked to develop a design which centres on this theme.

Designers have worked with children and young people from CAMHS to come up with a seaside theme which will be reflected throughout the CAMHS area and will make the unit have a homely and calming feel. Being situated on the ground floor will give the children and young people direct access to their own outside space. One of the secure gardens will display a play mural incorporating the Tipperlin lighthouse. Goal posts and targets will be printed on the wall to encourage ball games.
5.       Artist residency programme

Five artist residencies and fellowships have been commissioned to create a body of new work and foster new cultural relationships arising from creative collaborations within the health and wellbeing research and practice agenda with the hospitals and city communities.  

The work produced will be shown or located within RHSC and DCN and also with city partners.