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Digitally printed wall covering installation to the Day Treatment Unit at Churchill Hospital Cancer Centre, Oxford.

Day Treatment Unit, Cancer Centre, Churchill Hospital, Oxford

Tuesday 16th September 2014, Oxford Churchill Hospital, DTU, Cancer Centre I came up to Oxford today to review the installation of the wall-covering artwork along with VGL and the Trust Arts Coordinator, Ruth Charity. The DTU is an oncology & haematology day unit delivering chemotherapy & other cancer related treatments. The staff delivering this service are the most dedicated and hardworking group of people. How they have made time to collaborate and input into this project has been truly brilliant and a pertinent and sharp reminder that projects such as this succeed because of a positive buy in & contribution by staff and stakeholders alike. The work is created around a central core ‘island’ of offices and consulting rooms about which day treatment chemotherapy services are delivered. Most of the chairs and beds face onto this central island, meaning that most patients spend hours at a time over many weeks or even years staring at dull, blank walls, during treatment, rather than out of the windows behind them, which incidentally are too high to see through. A concept approach was developed to change this dull & monotonous view into a contemplative and softly illuminated abstract vista, interrupted by the suggested shadows of overhanging branches and foliage with dappled light breaking through.

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Corridor linking Chemotherapy Waiting Room to Oncology day treatment room

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Haematology treatment space

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Nurse Station

 

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Detail: Digitally printed vinyl wall covering

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Detail: Digitally printed vinyl wall covering

 

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Nurse Station

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Patient and visitor drinks station

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Corridor linking Oncology day treatment space with the Chemotherapy waiting room

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Haematology treatment space nurse station

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Detail: Patient & visitor drinks station

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Haematology treatment space nurse station

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Detail

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Detail

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Detail

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Detail with penguins

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Detail

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Oncology treatment space main nurse station

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Hand wash station

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Oncology nurse station – Detail of wall covering

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Haematology treatment space – Detail of wall covering

Day Treatment Unit, Cancer Centre, Churchill Hospital, Oxford – Installation

Work began to prepare the unit for the installation in March this year. What appears to be a simple case of ‘wallpapering’ a space couldn’t be further from the truth within an environment such as this. Sensitivity to the treatments being carried out within the unit is paramount. The ongoing quality and appearance of the DTU must be considered, even during renovations and repair works. As this is a day treatment unit, weekend working for the specialist contractors from VGL is the only option. This means that the project has to be undertaken over a number of consecutive weekends, which appears to extend the project for longer than it really warrants.

 

The following images show the first area to be installed. These are not finished images as further works are due to make good the final positioning of furniture and fittings etc.

28th April 2014 The first panels are installed. This is a test area to ensure that the production and installation methods we have established, do in fact work on site!

28th April 2014 The first panels are installed. This is a test area to ensure that the production and installation methods we have established, do in fact work on site!

Many people make up the wider project team. They have to be consulted and become involved to enable the works to happen. This is time consuming stuff and I am so grateful to Ruth Charity, the Arts Co-ordinator for the Oxford University Hospital NHS Trust who has steered this project since the outset, through its fair share of stormy weather ! The staff particularly have been patient and encouraging throughout.

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DTU – test installation site…

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Day Treatment Unit, Cancer Centre, Churchill Hospital, Oxford. Detailed Design

We have been working alongside Carly Birkett, Account Manager at VGL, Reading, who has collaborated extensively on the design production, manufacture and installation planning for the project. By May 2013, we had small scale sample panels produced and installed within the unit in July 2013 for a number of weeks to gain feedback from staff and user groups. Following this period, the detailed design was revised and re-issued for comment.

Detail: sample panel design for production and installation within the unit to gain comment & feedback on the ideas and concept.

Detail: sample panel design for production and installation within the unit to gain comment & feedback on the ideas and concept.

 

The sample wall coverings were produced and installed for comment. They were also testing the process of installation and the potential hazards and pitfalls of preparing the unit  for the full installation.

7th July 2013 – The sample wall coverings were produced and installed for comment. They were also testing the process of installation and the potential hazards and pitfalls of preparing the unit for the full installation.

Sample installed for review within the unit circulation corridor.

7th July 2013 – Sample installed for review within the unit circulation corridor

One issue which arose was that within the confines of the the narrow corridor, the blurred form of the tree had a rather dizzying effect on some people as they tried to focus upon it. We alleviated the problem by layering another transparent image, which was very sharp, onto the surface, which gave the eye a clear object upon which to focus. Hopefully this has addressed the issue.

A number of trips were made to VGL's offices and production unit in Reading, where I worked alongside the production designer in reviewing and building the production artworks.

A number of trips were made to VGL’s offices and production unit in Reading, where I worked alongside the production designer in reviewing and building the production artworks.

Sample panels spread out for review and discussion at VGL

19th November 2013 and a trip to VGL in Reading. Sample panels spread out for review and discussion at VGL

Sample panels printed for review during design meetings at VGL in Reading

Sample panels printed for review during design meetings at VGL in Reading

Detailed plans of all the interior elevations were plotted by VGL. Carly Birkett made a number of site visit to take measures and ensure the right drawings were produced.

Detailed plans of all the interior elevations were plotted by VGL. Carly Birkett made a number of site visit to take measures and ensure the right drawings were produced.

19th November 2013, reviewing drafts on train home after meeting in Oxford.

19th November 2013, reviewing drafts on train home after meeting in Oxford.

19th `november 2013. Making notes on draft designs

19th `november 2013. Making notes on draft designs

2013-11-19 14.22.38 The three following images are the set of final & approved pdf’s circulated for formal approval. These are the designs which went into production and printing

Final production design for Clinical Preparation Pod area.

Final production design for Clinical Preparation Pod area.

Detailed production design for the Nurse Office Pod area.

Detailed production design for the Nurse Office Pod area.

Final production design for the Storage / Counselling area.

Final production design for the Storage / Counselling area.

Detail: Final artwork

Detail: Final artwork

Detail: Final Artwork

Detail: Final Artwork

Detail: Final Design

Detail: Final Design

These are the individual elevations in linear form which make up the interior 'island' or glade within the unit. Only small sections of the walls can be seen at any one time. The elevations will be interrupted by doors and direction changes etc.

Detail: A partial view of  the individual elevations in linear form which make up the interior ‘island’ or glade within the unit. Only small sections of the walls can be seen at any one time. The elevations will be interrupted by doors and direction changes etc.

The final designs were then sampled and full scale sections delivered to the Trust for review and comment.  As you can see from the following images, the panels were quite a handful to manage and manoeuvre.

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5th December 2013 & a trip to Oxford to review the  new samples. Carly Birkett, Accounts Manager for VGL and Ruth Charity, Arts Coordinator for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust, hold up the sample panel for staff and me to view.

5th December 2013 DTU, Cancer Centre, Oxford

On 5th December 2013, we finally approved the samples panels produced from the detailed production designs. From here on it was all go to set a schedule for print, manufacture and installation.

Day Treatment Unit, Cancer Centre, Churchill Hospital, Oxford. Concept & Draft Design

This is an introduction to the project – ‘Landscape: bringing the outside in’

This is a full scale sample panel for an area of bespoke wall covering. VGL produced many such sample for us to approve and have been incredibly understanding and helpful in bringing the project to fruition. Ruth Charity, Arts Co-ordinator is on the right of this image & Carly Birkett, Account Manager for VGLis on the left.

This is a full scale sample panel for an area of bespoke wall covering. VGL produced many such sample for us to approve and have been incredibly understanding and helpful in bringing the project to fruition. Ruth Charity, Arts Co-ordinator is on the right of this image & Carly Birkett, Account Manager for VGLis on the left.

This arts project was commissioned in April 2012 for the Cancer & Haematology Day Treatment Unit, aka DTU, at Churchill Hospital, Oxford.  Ruth Charity, the Arts Coordinator for Oxford University Hospitals NHS Trust has been instrumental in delivering the arts strategy. The Cancer Centre opened in March 2009 & was delivered by the Churchill Construction Consortium and designed by Steffian Bradley Architects.

The art project is currently in production and installation is starting on site this coming weekend.

The project brief described the unit as: “Between 70 -90 patients/day attend the Day Treatment Unit requiring treatment for varying malignancies and benign blood disorders. The treatment regimens (e.g. chemotherapy / blood transfusions) can be complex & lengthy, taking anything from 30 minutes to several hours, with some patients attending twice a week and others once every three weeks. The Day Treatment Unit consists of one long horseshoe-shaped room,accommodating 12 beds & 30 chairs. Currently there is little artwork on the walls and there is little of interest for patients to view. The windows are very high so there is no opportunity for patients to look out and thus no sense of what the weather is like or even what season it is. As a space, which patients visit on a regular basis, it offers little to lift the tedium of repeat visits”. 

Day Treatment Unit, Nurse Station. The patients within the unit are treated in beds or chairs set out around the perimeter of the rooms, facing into the centre of the room with any windows and natural light behind them. This is a typical view of the space.

Day Treatment Unit, Nurse Station. The patients within the unit are treated in beds or chairs set out around the perimeter of the rooms, facing into the centre of the room with any windows and natural light behind them. This is a typical view of the space.

Day Treatment Unit. All the treatment areas face onto a central 'island' of nurse stations and clinical rooms and service corridors, which make for a rather un-relieving view. Some patients are here for up to 4 or 5 hours at a time.

Day Treatment Unit. All the treatment areas face onto a central ‘island’ of nurse stations and clinical rooms and service corridors, which make for a rather un-relieving view. Some patients are here for up to 4 or 5 hours at a time.

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Day Treatment Unit, view from treatment areas with beds and chairs.

Day Treatment Unit, view from treatment areas with beds and chairs.

Day Treatment Unit.

Day Treatment Unit showing treatment chairs facing away from the windows. Although the nurse stations benefit from the natural light which comes in from a series of small, high windows, it does appear to diminish the experience of patients within the unit.

Day Treatment Unit Corridor

Day Treatment Unit Corridor

The aims of the project were :

to create a more welcoming, positive and inviting feel to the Chemotherapy suite;

to create new work that will provide some distraction for patients undergoing treatment;

to create new work that responds to the architecture and interior design of the space and unifies the space;

to create new work that is created with sensitivity to patients and those working in and visiting the department;

to create work that responds to the art programme theme of landscape: bringing the outside in;

to create work that is easy to clean, meets infection control standards and requires little or no maintenance

'Bringing the landscape in...;, The concept was driven by the woodland and planting which surrounded the Cancer Centre, very little of which could be viewed from within the unit. The sky was predominant as the windows are so high. Blue sky, clouds, rain, grey, bright, dull, overcast - all conditions which influenced our discussions and responses to the site.

‘Bringing the landscape in…;, The concept was driven by the woodland and planting which surrounded the Cancer Centre, very little of which could be viewed from within the unit. The sky was predominant as the windows are so high. Blue sky, clouds, rain, grey, bright, dull, overcast – all conditions which influenced our discussions and responses to the site.

Blue sky with clouds...

Blue sky with clouds…

Our approach had to be considerate of and sensitive to the treatments being delivered here and the wellbeing of patients. Scale and distance form the walls was a critical factor. We have to be extremely careful about colour or figurative detail and scale which could have a negative influence on patients.  The more muted and soft views on an early misty morning image taken in a local park began to appear more condusive to setting the stage for our intervention.

Our approach had to be considerate of and sensitive to the treatments being delivered here and the wellbeing of patients. Scale and distance  of patients from the walls  opposite was a critical factor. We had to be extremely careful about colour & figurative detail and scale which could have a negative influence  and impact on patients. The more muted and soft views on an early misty morning image taken in a local park began to appear conducive to setting the stage for our intervention.

'Landscape: bringing the outside in..."

‘Landscape: bringing the outside in…”

Tree shadows on a concrete wall are both sharply focussed or softly blurred depending on the distance of the tree from the wall.

Tree shadows on a concrete wall are both sharply focussed or softly blurred depending on the distance of the tree from the wall.

The shadows of trees here combine with the building onto which they are bast to create an abstract backdrop.

The shadows of trees here combine with the building onto which they are bast to create an abstract backdrop.

I have worked at the Cancer Centre previously within the adjacent Chemotherapy Waiting Room, where a large triptych – an architectural glass artwork, originally commissioned for the old Oncology Unit by GBS Architects, had been re-sited successfully as a screen between the patient waiting room and clinical offices and corridor. This work was further enhanced by digitally printed optically clear vinyl installed on all interior glazing panels within the waiting area by VGL Ltd. I will post an archive review of this project in due course under the heading ‘Chemotherapy Waiting Room’. 

The DTU project was initiated with a two day residency during which I talked to staff and engaged with patients. The delivery of treatments make this a very sensitive place to observe and great care was taken to be as unobtrusive as possible. There has been an ongoing process of engagement & he staff have been a continual joy to work alongside. Their collective upbeat and supportive collaboration has made this project particularly special for me. The key staff, who smoothed the progress of the project throughout have been: Eliz Flanagan – Lead Chemotherapy Nurse, Jane Skelly – Chemotherapy Specialist Nurse and Moira Cunningham – Sister, Oncology and Haematology Outpatients. Other members of the Champions Group who informed my work & engagement within the department are: Claire Tasker – supporter, Julie Bourchier – former patient & Liz Creak – former patient.

Initially I produced a to-scale model of the interior ‘island’, a cluster of rooms around which I was to base the installation. The idea was to create an interior landscape, or vista which almost felt as though the trees and plants were overhanging the space, creating an abstract misty glade to look into.

Plan drawing of the DTU. The pink area outlined in red shows the 'island', a cluster of rooms at the centre of the unit around which the circulation flows. The green line shows the perimeter of the unit and the position of  the treatment chairs and beds all aligned to face the 'island'.

Plan drawing of the DTU. The pink area outlined in red shows the ‘island’, a cluster of rooms at the centre of the unit around which the circulation flows. The green line shows the perimeter of the unit and the position of the treatment chairs and beds all aligned to face the ‘island’.

This is a scale model of the interior 'island' and a concept surface design to illustrate the approach.

This is a scale model of the interior ‘island’ and a concept surface design to illustrate the approach.

Research image - overhanging tree...

Research image – overhanging tree…

Scale model investigating the concept and approach.

Scale model investigating the concept and approach.

Draft for the 'island' elevations.

Draft for the ‘island’ elevations.

Draft artwork for the Beverage Bay wall elevation

Draft artwork for the Beverage Bay wall elevation

Draft wall elevation

Draft wall elevation

Draft Wall Elevation

Draft Wall Elevation

 

We have been working alongside Carly Birkett, Account Manager at VGL, Reading who have collaborated on the design production, manufacture and installation planning for the project. We have had small scale sample panels produced and installed within the unit for a number of weeks to gain feedback from staff and user groups. Following this period, the detailed design was revised and re-issued for comment.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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