I have been dropping the artwork into the glazing frames to look at balance, proportion, scale & colour.
Inspired by Jurassic plant fossils, drafts & designs for discussion & comment by the project team & NHS Trusts are coming together in the studio. If successful these will be digitally printed onto glazing vinyl for the Radiotherapy Unit on the ground floor of the Robert White Cancer Centre based at Dorset County Hospital. These services are delivered by Poole Hospital as part of the wider county wide Cancer Services. The project is a collaboration between various agencies including Arts in Hospital & Poole Hospital Charity.
These artworks are presented as long elevations of ground to ceiling windows, but in reality they are a series of interlinked screens at angles to one another. For example, the External Lobby Entrance Screen will be seen through the Clothed Waiting Room Screen.
Above & Below: These are the interior views of glazed screens as they are at the moment. The Staff Meeting Room is overlooked by an unappealing brick wall & stepped access to a public footpath, which is at a higher level creating privacy issues. In the artwork designs, all areas in white will be either transparent glazing or opaque printed vinyl, allowing in light, but not views by the public. The Clothed Waiting Room and Reception area glass screens look out onto the ground floor external paved concourse linking this building to the Main Hospital and adjacent Canteen. The artwork screens will provide much needed privacy from the ground floor pedestrian areas outside and hopefully some peaceful distraction for patients coming regularly into the Radiotherapy unit.
Samples of the designs will be digitally printed at full scale and installed in the Radiotherapy Unit for further comment and confirmation that the outcome is what is desired by staff and patients.
Above: These five rooms are linked via a corridor. I have shown them as a single open space – but in reality, each is a separate private clinic room or office.
Drafts and sketches for the digitally printed glazing vinyl artwork for the ground floor Radiotherapy Unit of the Robert White Cancer Centre are now in progress in the studio. At this stage, the drafts are for comment and discussion and the final design work will be tailored in response to this process.
Inspired by Jurassic plant fossils, such as Cycads, Tree Ferns, Magnolias, Monkey Puzzle and Gingko, the ideas are developing by way of a distinct colour palette and abstract pattern-making too, as well as looking to incorporate and blend in with the glazing artworks of the Outpatient Unit on the first floor, which were completed late in December 2018. Although the two floors deliver independent services via Poole Hospital and Dorset County Hospitals, it is important that from the outside particularly, the artwork links the two floors and presents a united front elevation to all those visiting & working on this site. The Jurassic Coastand the Abbotsbury Sub-Tropical Gardens, have both been influential. The coastal geology has been a particular fascination, with stones and fossils being very much the theme of the first floor Outpatients department.
In 2001, was commissioned by Elizabeth Smith, the Public Arts Officer for Southampton City Council to collaborate with the project client Barratt Homes, to create an interpretive landscape artwork for the central courtyard of the former Dell Football ground. The Dell was demolished in 2001 by Hughes and Salvidge. I was able to visit the ground to document the site just before this process began and just after the last game had been played.
“a lovely dell with a gurgling stream and lofty aspens” Philip Brannon 1850
“On 19 May 2001, midfielder Matt Le Tissier, (who retired from playing a year later) said goodbye to the stadium that had been host to his entire professional career by scoring a volley in the final minutes of the final league game securing a 3–2 win against. Le Tissier has the distinction of scoring the last competitive goal at The Dell. On 26 May, the club’s fans said goodbye to the Dell by stripping all of its seats, the pitch and even an advertising board after Southampton’s last game at the stadium, a 1-0 victory in a friendly against Brighton & Hove Albion, the first and last opponents at the stadium. The last goal ever scored at the Dell was by Uwe Rosler”. Wikipedia
“The final league goal witnessed by the Dell was Le Tissier’s 89th-minute winner against Arsenal, a fitting tribute from the forward to his home for 16 years and to the fans who could not imagine life without him. Club fortunes fluctuate, players come and go but Le Tissier has infected those who have witnessed his feats on the south coast and their worshipping will go on long after his boots are finally hung up”. The Guardian 21st May 2001
‘The site on which the ground was built was described in Philip Brannon’s Picture of Southampton, published in 1850, as “a lovely dell with a gurgling stream and lofty aspens”. The stream is the Rollsbrook which flows out of Southampton Common, running parallel to Hill Lane before disappearing under Commercial Road and Southampton Central Station, from where it is conduited under Southampton Docks into Southampton Water.
The land had been purchased in the 1880s by the Didcot, Newbury and Southampton Railway to enable them to continue their line from Winchester via Twyford, Chandlers Ford, a tunnel at Chilworth and Shirley where it was to pass to the North East of what is nowSt James’ Park, Southampton and St James’ Church. From here the line would have travelled south across Hill Lane to run through the dell and onto an embankment leading to a viaduct over Commercial Road and the London and South Western Railway line before terminating on the Western Esplanade North of the Royal Pier.
The dell was stripped of vegetation and the stream channelled into a conduit with work started on the embankment, which survives behind property to the North of Commercial Road but was never used, and the viaduct which was part built but later demolished.’ Wikipedia
I wanted to recreate this idea of ‘a lovely dell with a gurgling stream and trees’, as well as represent something important about the history of football and of Southampton FC on this site. It appeared that the centre circle of the pitch was exactly where the stream had originally passed through and was now culverted underground. The radius of the centre circle on a football pitch is 9.15m. My design reflects this. The centre spot is in exactly the same space it would have been on any match day. 11 trees are planted around the circumference to reflect the squad of 11 who would have played each game. The raw cast concrete retaining walls, steps and planting beds retain something of the look and feel of the original football terraces. Several bespoke cast terrazzo benches with white aggregate in a red cement matrix face into the centre. These reflect the club colours.
The most notable detail is the textured low-relief elevation exposed around the centre circle. This is the stud print of Matt Le Tissier’s right football boot – or so I was led to believe. We contacted the club during this project and this was the boot I was sent. I so want to believe it. I wore the boot to make the original mould, by running over a bed of clay. I still have it. The idea was to recreate and remember the raw play and boots on muddy ground which embodies the spirit of play.
I approached Patterns & Moulds Ltd, a fantastic company, I have since worked with on several projects. Established in 1967, Patterns & Moulds remains the largest independent and privately owned mould maker in the UK.
Turf had been stripped off the pitch by fans eager to take a piece of footballing history home with them.
Above: All the concrete works were delivered in-situ, with timber formwork constructed on site. The concrete retaining structures and curving walls created a series of interlinked paths and terraces, which were then backfilled with soil or compacted gravels to create the finished terrace levels. The Matt Le Tissier stud-print concrete feature relief-wall was also cast in-situ on site with bespoke rubber moulds and timber formwork. The raw, unfinished concrete surfaces emulated the original hard terrace construction at the Dell Football ground.
Above: Elizabeth Smith, Public Arts Officer, Southampton City Council 1998 – 2011, talking with the Project Site Manager.
Above & Below: The Rollsbrook Stream was re-imagined as a shallow rill flowing through the courtyard.
On Tuesday 19th March 2019, the screens were carefully installed by SEH Commercial. The East Screen was installed in the morning and the North Screen in the afternoon. Proto Glass Studiosdelivered the 18 sealed units – a total of 42 sqm of decorated glass – in two runs from their premises in Pewsey, Wiltshire. I couldn’t be there, which was a real disappointment, but the process was documented by a number of people on site. I am showing their images here.
There is still a fair amount of work to be done in finishing the new buildings, both inside & out, so for now and the foreseeable future at least, the glass will be covered by boards & protected. These are the last images we will see before the building is officially opened.
This project has been a great journey to make in collaboration with a wonderful project team. Hetty Dupays, director of Art at the Heart of the RUHwho commissioned the work has been a most supportive project manager. Also a big thanks to Gina Sargeant,Head of Therapies & Clinical Site, whose direct and pragmatic approach was balanced by her humour. I could not have delivered this artwork without the input and advocacy of both these brilliant people. A massive thanks to all staff and patients from both the RUH and RHNRD (The Min), IBI Group Architects& Main Contractor Kierwho collaborated throughout, and who offered their support and experience.
The external wall elevations and frames are still in progress, as are the interiors and the Screens will be padded out and boarded up from today, to protect them during the remaining works on site.
Above: Bespoke inlaid flooring with a Surgeon’s leg.
I have worked at Dorset County Hospital on two previous occasions, both memorable. My association with the Trust and its Arts in Hospital Team goes back to 1993, some 26 years! This recent visit to start a new project for the Radiotherapy Unit at the recently completed Robert White Centre, was quite poignant, because I made a concerted effort, whilst there to re-connect and revisit two commissions I had previously created for the Hospital, in 1993 and 2009 respectively. I have deliberately not looked back at the files for these projects, in fact I am not sure I still have the 1993 project on record. That was definitely pre-digital.
Interesting to see things again – unplanned and in the moment and experience them anew.
The Dog Courtyard at Dorset County Hospital seen through rain spattered windows on a bad weather day. I couldn’t access the courtyard directly yesterday due to the weather. The bronze dog is by Dame Elisabeth Frink, who I was extremely privileged to meet at her home in Blandford Forum in 1992, when I was taken there by my commissioner Val Pitt-Rivers, the founder of Arts in Hospital and a great friend of Elisabeth’s. Elisabeth Frink died in 1993. The courtyard was designed and created around this beautiful sculpture and was loosely based upon a roman villa garden.
‘In 1987, the Vice Chairman of the hospital, Val Pitt-Rivers, started Arts in Hospital with the help of a few friends. Since her retirement in 1998 she has continued to support us as an active patron. Her first committee was responsible for some of our most iconic artworks such as the Red & Blue Crayons by Peter Logan and the Dog by Dame Elisabeth Frink, a founder patron of Arts in Hospital.
After the opening of Phase 1 of the new Dorset County Hospital in 1987, the internal courtyards became the main focus of the arts project. The first to be completed was the Waterfall Courtyard by the sculptor Hamish Horsley. Soon after followed the courtyard to house Elisabeth Frink’s Dog, which was designed by artist Christopher Tipping, and then the Bird Garden designed by John Hubbard with stone fragments engraved by Richard Grasby’. Arts in Hospital
I love to see the lichens growing everywhere…a sign of age…as well as the Box and Bamboo topiary, maintained as cubes as per the original design.
The Hospital Streets project was completed in 2009 & was commissioned by the then director of Arts in Hospital, Alexandra Coulter.
The project was focussed on colour and wayfinding over three floors of the hospital, with the inspiration coming from two days spent walking & exploring along the Jurassic Coastand another day buried deep in the archives of the Dorset County Museum fossil collections. We collaborated with Tarkett flooring and created bespoke motifs which were inlaid at key points along the Hospital Streets such as lift lobbies and stairs. The work is now almost 10 years old and still looks remarkably fresh considering the heavy traffic.
Hospital Streets Project at Dorset County Hospital completed 2009. Tarkett vinyl flooring with bespoke inlaid motifs & assorted hospital legs. Image: Christopher Tipping 2019
I spent Monday & Tuesday of this week in Dorchester at the new £9million Robert White Centre, based at Dorchester County Hospital. This building was part funded via a legacy from Robert White a Poole based businessman, who was treated for cancer at the Dorset Cancer Centre at Poole Hospital. Robert died in 2015.
“Robert White was a great man and an enthusiast of all things mechanical. The sale is a showcase of his life’s passion, with more than 500 lots set to raise more than £2 million for charity,” said Malcolm Barber, Bonhams Co-Chairman. “The collection is the result of a life’s passion for photography – Robert was the founder of one of the UK’s leading photographic retailers – and his adoration for motorcycles. We’re delighted to be able to offer this for sale, and for such a great charitable cause.”
“The money raised from the Robert White Collection will help to fund essential improvements in cancer diagnosis and treatment in Dorset, including:
– New cancer treatment radiotherapy facilities at Dorset County Hospital to benefit patients in the west of the county, meaning shorter travel times – New computerised tomography (CT) scanner for Poole Hospital, accurately identifying cancer site to enable targeted treatment – Permanent positron emission tomography (PET) scanner at Poole Hospital – a sophisticated imaging technique widely used for cancer, providing highly detailed imagery showing tumours and its response to treatment. – Education and training bursaries to enable staff working in cancer care and associated medical and diagnostic specialties to remain at the cutting edge of best practice”.
I was very kindly shown around by Amanda Sydenham, Macmillan Prescribing and Review Radiographer/Treatment floor Superintendent, and introduced to other staff members. We were accompanied by Nikki Mitchenere, Deputy General Manager – Oncology Legacy Fund at the Dorset Cancer Centre, who has commissioned me for this work.
I am now starting to work up some draft ideas and proposals. These will be circulated throughout the unit so we can get feedback from everyone. The important thing is that we do this in a collaborative and engaged manner.
Obviously, whilst there I took a quick look upstairs to see how the artwork in Outpatients was being received by everyone. I was re-assured after talking to a couple of staff members there, that this seems to be a great success. The artworks for Radiotherapy, will build upon this established colour base and iconography, adding in some new motifs and objects. It is important that the work on both floors appears to have a relationship, with elements interwoven between both floors.
A slightly blurred and abstract image taken from outside, of the first floor windows reflecting surrounding trees & a street light mixed up with the artwork. The weather was atrocious all day, with rain and high winds – not the best backdrop.
These digitally printed glazing artworks, commissioned by Arts in Hospitalfor the first floor Haematology Outpatients unit were installed in December 2018, just prior to the official opening of the Robert White Centre.
This unit is managed and operated by Dorset County Hospital.
We had a wonderful endorsement for the art project from Patricia Miller, Chief Executive of DCH.
‘I really love this. It creates such a pleasant therapeutic environment that also links to Dorset’s natural surroundings. Thank you for working so hard to create such a pleasant environment for our patients.’
Our work with David & Richard at Proto Studios in Pewsey, Wiltshire has now come to an end.
Sadly, this week saw our final visit to Proto Glass Studios to see the completed glazing sealed units before they leave to be installed in the new RNHRD and Therapies Centre at the Royal United Hospital in Bath. The new unit is being delivered by Kier Group with IBI Group Architects. This artwork production of 46sqm of beautifully decorated and finished, screen-printed, sandblasted & etched artwork manufactured by Proto Studios, which will enhance the architectural curtain wall glass screens for the new Hydrotherapy Pool within the Therapies Unit was commissioned by Art at the Heart. A massive thank you to David & Richard Proto and all the glass technicians at Proto Studios who had a highly skilled hand in delivering this work. It has been a really rewarding collaboration.
The panels are due to be installed in the next few weeks. Fingers crossed for a hassle free installation…watch this space!
Above: Safe in skilled hands…glass technicians carefully present each of the 18 double glazed sealed units for us to see.
Chatham Placemaking Project – A beautifully crafted thing…
Since starting the Chatham Placemaking Project, I am proud and pleased that much of the work we have done has been wonderfully crafted.
Words can be beautifully crafted to capture the essence of meaning, or a point in time, the spirit of a place. Materials too can be made to speak and assembled with care into something meaningful and poetic.
The writer, filmmaker, designer and poet with whom I have worked and collaborated on the project have all brought experience, originality, humour to the table, but above all they have brought an ability to assemble what they know & what they have created into a beautifully honed and finished thing – a sentence, a film, a poem, a pattern. These people are highly skilled. Andrew Lapthorn, a craftsman and furniture maker working from the Historic Dockyard has produced perhaps one of the most beautiful objects created for the project. His laminated Elm radius curved seat – part of a collaboration with me to create 6 granite and timber street benches – has now been installed at New Cut, Chatham, one of two radius timber seats.
Above: Granite & Timber street bench. Honed monolithic granite with stainless steel armrest by Hardscape.
Public spaces – especially those well trafficked, endure heavy duty wear and tear. These seats have been manufactured from robust and tough materials. This timber element was constructed from 45 layers of laminated mature English Elm, which was generously donated to the project by the Historic Chatham Dockyard from the equally historic Timber Seasoning Sheds. Each layer may have 2 of 3 individually sawn planks. It is a brilliant piece of work and very beautiful. It speaks loudly to me and is exemplary of the experience and love of making, which all the artists and creatives involved in the project have instilled in their work, often quietly and unseen. Andrew Lapthorn’s seat, encapsulates so much that has been done by us all in gathering our base material, spending time with it, mulling it over, discarding what doesn’t work, before finally committing to its final form.
Andrew has documented his work over many months and has given us access to the archive of images. Some of them are astonishing. Again, worth repeating, that his process reflects all of our various processes in various forms, making various outcomes. It is all about craft, mixed with experience, originality and passion. I will be making a longer post about this work.