Monochromatic Body

We were commissioned by Artfelt to create a series of architectural-scale artworks for the new entrance of the Sheffield Children’s Hospital. Our challenge was to create an uplifting experience in the heart of a new landmark civic entrance space, whilst meeting strict clinical requirements. Our solution was a series of playful, giant-sized body parts, that explored the visual phenomena of medical science through microscopic imagery.

Embedded body part artworks
Embedded body part artworks
Identifying suitable surfaces/zones for applying the artwork
Identifying suitable surfaces/zones for applying the artwork

Our approach needed to offer a strong sense of clarity between what is art, architecture, wayfinding and furniture. Our solution was a family of huge monochrome compositions made up of tiny dots, that are too small to be distinguished when looking at the entire work, but would come to life when viewed up close with microscopic content embedded within each dot.

The foot
Microscopic content of the bone structure
Microscopic content of the bone structure
Exploring the dot matrix affect on a blood platelet
Proposed blood platelet composition

“Our aim was to create joyful moments of interaction that would make a difference to both the patients and those who help care for them. We took inspiration from the scientific bases of art, that offered an endless source of content and richness.”

Jonathan Dallas

We believe that for a public art project to succeed, collaboration and engagement with the people who use the space is essential so they feel a sense of ownership of the final piece. We undertook a two-day engagement exercise in the hospital, and were given access to both out-patients and in-patients, as well as key members of staff from various clinical departments.

Our aim was to engage with the patients so that they could inform the artwork by choosing their favourite silhouettes of body parts from a variety of categories, and produced a summary of our findings so that we had a clear consensus and creative direction for the final artworks.

Engagement workshop
Engagement workshop
Engagement workshop
Engagement workshop

Within each category, there were four options of different types/styles of illustrations to choose from. Children ranging between the ages of 2 and 17 years old participated and voiced their opinions on which options best represented those elements of the body.

We also engaged with members of staff from each department in order to get an understanding of how areas of specialism might provide the microscopic content of each of those body part silhouettes chosen by the children.

Thumb's up
The Brain
The Lungs
The Tongue
The Stomach
The Heart
The Eye - Applied to a glass screen
DNA - Applied to a glass screen

A high quality, durable solution was required for the production of the artwork. We specified the high performance properties of Formica, and utilised the latest in print technologies to deliver optimum visual replication of the original artworks. Working closely with the client team we sampled the visual output, and tested the colour saturation of each composition.

Sheffield Children’s Hospital
Photography: Simon Kennedy