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Artist Adam Ball lighting the way to wellness: Royal Papworth Hospital debuts Until the day you feel good
Adam’s permanent art installation—the largest he has created—is an integral part of the building’s design.

CAMBRIDGE.- When the new Royal Papworth Hospital opened to its first patients in April this year, few would have realised their wellness journey had begun even before they stepped foot in the door.

Appointed as consultant artist by lead architects HOK International, Adam Ball created a powerful installation aimed at both welcoming patients and staff to the hospital while simultaneously creating a positive and life-affirming atmosphere from the moment they arrive.

Adam’s permanent art installation—the largest he has created—is an integral part of the building’s design and has assisted the architects in realising their goal of providing visitors with a positive, easy-to-navigate environment that helps reduce stress and anxiety.

The hospital’s new 310-bed home on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus is set to become one of the world’s leading research hubs for science and healthcare. Its design embraces Royal Papworth Hospital NHS Foundation Trust’s ambition to thrive as one of the largest specialist cardiothoracic centres in Europe and welcomes the community with a striking architectural form that reflects the park-like setting.

Over the last eight years Adam worked closely with HOK to create a 3 metre x 16 metre light installation that forms the exterior wall of the hospital next to the main entrance.

Entitled, Until the day you feel good, the work was initially created from white fabric, hand-cut with surgical scalpels in 11 sections. It was then photographed, before being specialist screen-printed onto glass, and backlit by a bespoke LED lighting system designed to gradually change colour over the course of the year.

To ensure the work truly reflected the endeavours of the highly skilled team of professionals at the hospital, Adam collaborated with surgeons and staff from various departments, even witnessing thoracic surgery first hand, while at the same time investigating and researching source material for his work.

Not only is the finished installation directly influenced by the people who work at the Royal Papworth, but also reflective of their ongoing medical advancements.

“This work has been a long time in the making and was underpinned every step by the firm belief in the importance of art in the recovery of patients. While I have always believed this to be the case, I gained a much greater appreciation of its importance when my daughter fell ill and we found ourselves in and out of hospital with her. Hospitals can be intimidating environments,” said Adam.

“So I wanted my work to be welcoming for patients and their families as they arrive, and to create a less clinical, optimistic feel and a brief distraction from their circumstances.”

In creating Until the day you feel good, Adam enlisted the help of renowned French colour expert, author and designer Jean Gabriele Causse.

The impact of colour on wellness has been well-documented in scientific and medical journals internationally.

Incorporating this knowledge, the illuminated colour panels transition imperceptibly through the seasons to mark the passing of time. Tones of yellow and orange warm the winter months while cool, calming and relaxing blues and greens fill the panels in summer.

According to Causse, the author of The Power of Colours: “The gradually changing colour in Adam’s piece reflects the hospital as a dynamic place, evolving day after day. Colour offers comfort and subtly enhances trust which in a project like this is crucial in the wellness and healing journey.”

Ian Fleetwood, HOK’s London Studio, Lead Designer said: “Adam was a logical and intuitive choice for the entrance piece at the Royal Papworth Hospital. He worked closely with the design team at the early stage of the design process. His enthusiasm and collaborative approach perfectly illustrates the symbiotic relationship between art and architecture, which, as ever, is rich and rewarding.”

His words were echoed by HOK Regional Healthcare Leader, Allison Wagner, who added: “Adam also worked closely with the HOK Healthcare and Papworth Medical teams, to find inspiration for his piece, Until the day you feel good. The installation is truly uplifting and will help brighten the day for patients and families when they enter the hospital for years to come.”

Born in 1977, Adam lives and works in London and has exhibited in galleries internationally, including Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York; Dallas Contemporary, US; Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas; Gagosian Gallery, New York; The Jerwood Space, London; ICA, London; Encounter Contemporary, London; CCA, Glasgow; galerie laurent mueller, Paris; London Art Fair; ARCO Madrid; Centre of Contemporary Art, Bahrain; Bait Al Zubair Museum, Oman and Pharos Arts Foundation, Cyprus.

Since the public installation of a 10 metre high painting in London’s Golden Square in 2002, solo exhibitions include: Goss-Michael Foundation, Dallas; Paul Kasmin Gallery, New York; Goss Gallery, Dallas; Bait Al Zubair Museum, Oman; Centre of Contemporary Art, Bahrain; galerie laurent mueller, Paris; Encounter Contemporary, London and Shizaru Gallery, London.

Group exhibitions include a collaboration for New York Fashion Week at Gagosian Gallery, NY; Re:Define 2017 and 2014, Dallas Contemporary Museum, US; Re:Define 2011, Goss-Michael Foundation, US; Duet, Galeria Xavier Fiol, Palma; This Is London, Shizaru Gallery, London; Spectra, Londonewcastle Project Space, London; ARCO Madrid and ArteFiera Bologna, Italy.

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