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Coventry Hospital Mobile Information

A mobile and light sculpture built for a new NHS Trust in Coventry. Unfortunately the Trust was not able to direct the spotlights at the mobile, which massively undermines its appearance. Subsequently, It remains an unresolved piece to date and the trust are not returning our calls!

Client: NHS Trust
Commissioning Agent: Debbie Knightly of TMPL Consultants
Architects: Nightingales
Photograph Mark Bayley:

Original Proposal

Our proposal for the Women and Children?s Unit does not consist of a singular piece of preconceived work, but rather, a series of interventions with the space which could develop in consultation with designers, staff and users. I am suggesting that a way of proceeding is to have a loosely structured framework of ideas that will allow development input from others. Although I am very open to consultation with interested parties, the end result has to be an installation that I am comfortable putting my name to.

I think that the dominant focus for our scheme should be the entrance drum, with some energy spent on leading the gaze across the drum into and along the corridor, which leads on into the hospital.

My suggestions for the drum space involve the application of film to the slit window spaces and although this is open to discussion I would suggest using radiant light film which is a Dichroic coloured film applied to glass made by 3M. The film is interesting visually as it allows the through passage of light, but colours that light in complimentary colours to its reflected appearance. Depending on the dominant light source it also changes its appearance from day to night and according to the angle viewed.

So what the film offers is a subtly changing light and colour experience over the course of a day. The film can be cut and applied in almost any desired pattern which would allow possible input from other sources, though my preferred route may be to take my lead from the shape of the windows and echo their form in perhaps a concentric rectangle.

I find the idea of a mobile floating within the circular drum space appealing. I envisage a piece that would be centrally placed, emerging out of the Berrisol ceiling, with lightweight armatures and transparent nylon supporting a free-floating balanced construction that would reflect and refract light around the space. The materials envisaged would be dichroic glass and acrylic, both clear and translucent, another film product called optical light film, which amongst other attributes produces projected rainbows when addressed by bright light, and small metallic-looking plastic disks rather like large sequins. The whole work would turn gently and slowly in the space and would be addressed by small spotlights set around the rim of the drum, perhaps under the sills of windows. (See enclosed samples).

It is envisaged that there would be a rich mix of shadow/light, reflection and refraction throughout the space and starting to extend within the corridor leading into the hospital.

The imagery associated with that mobile could again be a matter of some consultation, but I would say that, at this stage, I favour fairly simple geometric shapes ? particularly circular, though the form of the mobile itself could perhaps be a spiral which I believe to have fairly positive connotations associated with life cycles.

I think that the theme established within the lobby could to a lesser extent be continued within the corridor spaces and would involve small spotlights bouncing light off of sequin panels fixed high on walls or the ceiling. This could create a lively play of light across unexpected surfaces and seduce the viewer into wanting to travel on to the next point of their journey, into the wards.

As part of my working involvement with the project I envisage consultation with the designers of the space and would love to consider the manifestation of the reception desk and issues such as the flooring in the circular lobby which I thought could echo some elements of the proposed mobile. I would also envisage engaging with the appearance of the glazed wall of the appearance of the glazed wall of the caf? which could be treated in such a way as to refer to the drum windows, so that there is a sense of calm cohesion rather than a somewhat frantic explosion of different resolutions.

In summation the spaces proposed would offer a sense of quiet shifts of light, colour and movement allowing for welcome engagement, but not so intrusive as to be an annoyance to those requiring a calm rejuvenating situation. There is room for input and consultation with all parties but I do think that a single vision should finally inform the works proposed.

Martin Richman
13th February 2004