Sculpture solves practical issues for Bristol Royal Infirmary’s new ward block

Acoustic-baffling sculpture creates pleasant environment as well as preventing noise pollution

A new acoustic baffling sculpture designed by Studio Weave is creating a pleasant and supportive environment for visitors, patients and staff at the Bristol Royal Infirmary (BRI).

As well as animating the ward block atrium, welcoming and inspiring visitors, the sculpture also reduces noise levels and provides patient privacy.

Managed by arts and health consultants, Willis Newson, the striking-yet-functional artwork creates a visual centrepiece to the atrium of the new seven-storey ward block. Suspended above the hospital’s busy medical assessment unit (MAU), the sculpture is made from acoustic-baffling panels that absorbs sound from the activity on the ground level while providing additional privacy for patients by shielding sightlines from the upper floors.

“The sculpture works on many levels. It’s a stunning piece of artwork that creates a visual focal point for the space, but it also solves a lot of practical problems that hospitals have to resolve,” said Deborah Lee, the hospital’s chief operating officer and deputy chief executive.

The sculpture is inspired by the Terrell Rope Works, a family-run rope and twine business whose house used to sit on the hospital site. The design takes its cue from the dynamic, splaying strands of the rope industry. Made from 270 acoustic baffling panels, the sculpture’s funnel-shaped design allows patients, staff and visitors on the ground floor to still benefit from the light that the atrium provides.

“We wanted the atrium space to mirror the high quality of care patients would receive within it. The sculpture achieves this and creates a welcoming environment for patients, staff and families,” said Lee.

The sculpture has been funded by hospital charity Above & Beyond’s Golden Gift Appeal which is raising funds for the creation of a calming, uplifting and supportive environment for patients, visitors and staff through artworks to enhance the redevelopment of Bristol Royal Infirmary.

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