Thanks to all those who’ve been in touch with their reactions to my blog post, earlier this week, about this project. This post covers the other two designs, plus additional design work for this project.
Moving up one floor to the inpatients unit, you are greeted by a wall of my robot illustrations, which frame the entrance to ‘Area 61’ and the social space (called ‘The Chat Room’). For those with astute memories, you may recognise some of these robot characters from many years ago, when I did a series of small paintings for an exhibition.
As this third space will have a lot of traffic going through it, I wanted to create an artwork that would be visually rich, so a frequent visitor might see something different every time they pass by. I also wanted to encourage a sense of activity and playful fun, connecting the viewer to the social space beyond. The characters are also doing a wide variety of activities - the hope being that a viewer may identify with some of these.
The final space is in fact another key entrance space for those coming into the unit. Leading from the older building onto the new build down a long corridor, the project team expressed a keenness to have an artwork that introduced the unit and had a direct connection to patient’s experiences. My meeting with a few of the patients (referred to in the previous blog post), family members and others connected to the project was critical in understanding the many things, thoughts, experiences and motivational quotes that were central to those going through cancer diagnoses and treatment.
I built up an enormous amount of notes, doodles, thoughts and quotes from these dialogues and began to build them into a loose info-graphic that would take the viewer on a journey into the unit, allowing them to interpret and take ownership of whatever would be most appropriate and relevant to them. This illustration went through a number of changes and was the biggest challenge to get right as any words and images, of course, had to be sensitively thought through as to how a viewer may interpret them.
The final artwork was drawn out as a vector file and coloured digitally, which proved useful for final tweaks and changes - especially in a few instances when the dimensions of the entire wall were changed and the bumper rail dimension was adjusted.
Finally, the project team asked if I could design some symbols for the toilet and shower door(s), as well as a graphic for ‘The Chat Room’, so that they all tied in with the overall illustrated artwork aesthetic of the unit. A first draft of the toilet/shower symbols, while very playful, were deemed possibly too confusing for a patient on medication and so a more straight-forward solution was called for.
This was a wonderful and exciting project to work on and a great opportunity to problem-solve across several different types of spaces with varying uses, as well as employ a number of different aspects of my portfolio. My sincere gratitude goes out to the whole team who I worked with, who were always helpful with feedback and direction. It’s heartwarming to have already had feedback from the nursing staff at the unit as to the positive impact of the artwork.