More than 100 original pieces of artwork have been printed onto Altro Whiterock Digiclad (Custom) wall sheets to help enhance the environment for patients, staff, and visitors at University College London Hospital’s new Grafton Way Building.
Work on the landmark 34,600sq m cancer centre, which includes the country’s second NHS proton beam therapy centre, was completed in January, marking the creation of one of Europe’s largest dedicated haemato-oncology hospitals providing treatment for those with complex cancers and blood disorders.
Designed by Scott Tallon Walker Architects in association with Edward Williams Architects, it was constructed by Bouygues UK and project managed by AECOM and features Altro’s latest wall sheet products featuring more than 100 original pieces of work covering 3,000sq ft of space across the 13 storeys, five of which are underground.
The wall coverings are an integral part of the overall arts project within the centre, which was overseen by arts curator, Guy Noble.
He said: “There is a raft of evidence showing how enhanced environments improve recovery rates for patients.
“Nature and views of nature are particularly impactful and the themes for the new hospital encompass nature in many forms.
“We have looked to artwork to uplift, to calm, to distract as this can be really effective for people in distressing or worrying situations.”
The Whiterock Digiclad (Custom) wall sheet panels are easy to clean, durable, and meet stringent fire regulations
Lucy Gough and Eloise Renouf designed work for the critical care unit; while Alex Echo’s work features in the Proton Beam Therapy Centre and many other areas of the building.
This ambitious project was made possible through the use of Altro Whiterock Digiclad (Custom), which is created by reproducing a photographic image or design onto Altro Whiterock wall cladding, with consistent, photographic quality.
And hard-coat technology provides scratch-resistant properties for added surface protection.
“Altro Whiterock Digiclad was the right choice for a number of reasons,” explains Noble.
“It satisfies our infection control requirements and our fire officer was more than happy with its fire rating, too. Its robust nature really helped as well.
“Cleanability and durability are so important in hospital settings and alternatives such as vinyl wallpaper simply wouldn’t have the longevity needed in this environment.”
The bespoke wall sheets were printed from digital files using UV-cured inks.
Darren Baggett, an internet asset entrepreneur, former city trader, and long-term supporter of UCLH, has been passionate about the art project from the very beginning and was instrumental in raising funds to help bring it to life.
He said: “It was fantastic following it from start to finish – seeing the concepts and ideas develop organically and be brought to life and installed as part of the fabric of the building to last for years to come.
“And Altro was supportive with its pricing to make the project possible.
“This was the best thing I was involved with last year – it was the ray of sunshine and everyone involved was so positive about it and that shows in the end result.”
The wall sheets were installed by Absolute Interiors.
The work was designed by artists Lucy Gough, Eloise Renouf, and Alex Echo and appear throughout the 13-storey building