First impressions of a hospital are often set as soon as you step through the doors, which is why artist Kate Blee wanted to ‘deliver joyous colour’ to the new Welcome Space at the Royal Sussex County Hospital.
The new Main Entrance at the Stage 1 Building at 3Ts Redevelopment will welcome one million people a year through its doors, acting as the first point of call for patients, visitors and staff.
As soon as Kate saw the architect’s design for the area in the new building, which opens early next year, she was drawn to the concrete columns that ‘rhythmically march through the entrance.’
Kate said: “The columns offered a three-dimensional canvas, at large scale, that I could use to inject colour into the space.
“Brighton is full of colour; it is in the architecture and the attitude of the city, and I wanted this work to resonate with that mood and have a positive emotional influence.
“In my opinion, colour in hospitals is often insipid; muted and chalky colours are used. However, I wanted to deliver joyous colour, each colour chosen for its relationship to the next, generating a gentle vibration and a reflective energy to lift the space.”
Kate’s work appears in the form of colourful glazed ceramic tiles – traditional, warm, hardy and practical – which hug the columns that rise to 11 metres in some places.
As light floods through the new Main Entrance, it hits the tiles, bringing them to life and causing the colours to change as you move through the space.
Kate was also asked for her artistic input into the design of the welcome desk. The intention behind this design was to create a warm and welcoming sculptural shape, based on the hull of a boat and linking to Brighton’s coastal landscape.
The light structure (baffle) that hangs above the desk, uses similar colours to the tiles to help draw the whole area together.
Kate added: “The baffle delivers light, sound insulation, colour and form to the area above the desk – highlighting it as the heart of the space and the first point of contact.
“I hope that my work will bring joy and a certain complexity to the space. I hope that it will give the space a unique sense of place, sensitive to the particularities of Brighton, responsive to the grand scale of the architecture and to the function of an environment that will welcome its users.”
Discover our other hospital artists via the Connect Website. In the meantime, look out for more on our featured artists each month.