For children spending long periods in hospital the environment around them is key not just to recovery but to their quality of day-to-day life while they are there. That’s why we salute the bold move by Sheffield Children’s Hospital to invite hip colour-queen of the moment, Morag Myerscough, to create a design scheme for 46 new ensuite rooms and six multi-occupancy suites for a new wing of the hospital, added by Avanti Architects.
The project was commissioned by artfelt, the children’s hospital charity’s arts programme and the results are bright, fun and life-affirming, with Myercough’s trademark geometric shapes used to create a harlequin-style scheme that offers endless variety across the numerous rooms. The designer explains that she varied the colour palettes, using softer pastels for rooms used by children with autism, who may have greater light and colour sensitivity than other patients. The use of shapes rather than more traditional motifs of nature or cartoons means that the scheme caters for the different age groups who will use the space, as well as creating a visually pleasing environment for the adults who will spend time with their children there.
Due to the need for every surface in the design to be clinically hygienic and wipe-clean, Myerscough worked exclusively with plastic laminate. The design cleverly hides much of the equipment, wires and cables behind colourful panels, downplaying the medical purpose of the space. To add an organic, natural feel many of the panels are made from Formica covered with a laminated woodgrain effect.
Myerscough consulted both patients and staff on preferred colours, with the main aim being to lift the spirits of anyone finding themselves there. As she recently told Designboom, “going into a grim and grey room isn’t going to make anybody feel good. But to go into a room that lets you know that people care about you and they’re thinking about you — it’s a no-brainer really. It makes people happier and more assured that everybody is concerned about them and wants them to get better.”
All images by Jill Tate