Art breathes life into Royal Sussex County Hospital

Public arts programme central to £484m redevelopment scheme

A public arts programme is central to the redevelopment of the Ruyal Sussex County Hospital

A public arts programme has been launched as part of the £484m redevelopment of the Royal Sussex County Hospital in Brighton.

The CONNECT programme was officially launched last month and will see artwork integrated into the environment to ensure a warm welcome, to enhance the therapeutic environment, and to aid navigation and wayfinding.

The scheme is being delivered by arts consultancy, Willis Newson, in partnership with Brighton and Sussex University Hospitals NHS Trust and the trust’s own arts programme, Onward Arts, supported by architect, BDP, and construction partner, Laing O’Rourke.

The team is working closely with partners and stakeholders from across the county, including Brighton and Hove City Council, Brighton University, Photoworks, and a range of local artists.

The arts programme will result in commissions for display throughout the hospital, including waiting rooms, treatment rooms, corridors and even the roof garden.

Commissions include a wayfinding strategy featuring 13 local and emerging artists around the theme of ‘Connect with Place’. The artworks will identify key junctions within the building, points of arrival, and will help to differentiate between floors and lift cores.

This approach will be particularly beneficial to children, people with dementia, and patients, staff and visitors who do not speak English.

It will take place across both new buildings, with a different approach in each to suit the environment and intended use.

Features will include large illustrations outside each lift relating to a particular theme and colour palette. Further prominent walls have been identified on every floor to create a visual ‘funnel’ guiding visitors to and from each lift core. Plus, where relevant, department entrances will also be highlighted by an illustration.

Large wall illustrations will wrap around the lift and stair cores, and as numerous floors will be visible at once, a single artist will be appointed to provide works for use throughout the building.

Kate Blee will provide artworks for the reception areas

The imagery will be themed around the South Downs National Park and its flora and fauna.

Hospital reception areas will be transformed by artist, Kate Blee, who will be using the large columns in the main reception area as a canvas for a series of colourful, hand-made ceramic tiles embodying the mood of Brighton. She will also create a huge ceramic mural to act as a welcoming landmark and to enhance the 16m wall that runs through the space.

Underneath the mural, Blee has designed a contemporary oak bench with upholstered seat pads to run across the width of the wall. This will provide a seating area for patients and visitors.

Waiting rooms will feature photographic works by professional photographers, University of Brighton students, Photoworks, and members of the local community.

The project, known as Wide Angle, will cover all 31 waiting areas within the new development.

There will also be temporary exhibitions of work from other artists and photographers. Finally, the Sky Garden, will provide the setting for a number of works by ceramic artist, Marion Brandis.

A contemporary oak bench will provide a seating area for patients and visitors

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