Light and sound installations chosen for hospital refurbishment

Artworks by Brian Eno commissioned for private Montefiore Hospital in Sussex

Light and sound installations by Brian Eno have been included in the redevelopmennt of the Montefiore Hospital

Light and sound installations have been used to complete the refurbishment of the new Montefiore Hospital in Sussex.

The private facility, run by Spire Healthcare, has recently undergone significant redevelopment, led by architect IBI Nightingale, which included the creation of artworks to help patients, staff and visitors to relax.

We actively encourage sensory design in all our hospital schemes. They fully support the mounting evidence that art and music delivers beneficial treatment to patients

This is the first time creations by leading artist Brian Eno have been used in a hospital anywhere in the world.

Robin Turner, a local surgeon was instrumental in the decision to Eno’s novel light and sound installations in two areas of the building. The works include 77 Million Paintings for Montefiore , an installation of light and generative music in the reception area.

Richard Ager, studio associate director and project architect at IBI Nightingale, said: “Artwork is so important within the design of healing environments. We actively encourage sensory design in all our hospital schemes, but the works by Brian Eno have been extraordinary. They represent patient care and fully support the mounting evidence that art and music delivers beneficial treatment to patients.”

The hospital was first built as a furniture depository in the late 1800s. It was purchased by Spire Healthcare in 2010 and is now undergoing significant refurbishment. Preceding the work the building had staggered floor plates, steep internal ramps, fixed service cores and dreary decor.

Creating a healing environment isn’t only about correct surgical procedures and the right technology, but also about making an atmosphere where the patients feel able to relax enough to clearly think through their options and to properly take part in the healing process themselves

The new hospital aims to re-establish its presence within the streetscape.

From the exterior, the building retains its original charm, with a new glazed entrance to draw patients into the foyer. The extension to the rear of the building closely matches the red facing brick and introduces western red cedar cladding and composite aluminium/timber windows with a mixture of light grey spandrels, white translucent and clear glazed units.

Inside, the hospital is spacious and uplifting with interiors that create a welcoming and stress-free environment. Greeted by an airy lobby with a bamboo-framed reception, patients are directed through wide corridors to private consultation rooms. On the first floor are 21 stylish en-suite bedrooms, each with distinctive semi-circular windows to flood them with natural light. The second floor accommodates three integrated laminar flow operating theatres. In addition, a chemotherapy suite is located in the lower ground floor, with access to a landscaped courtyard.

Staff facilities include an exclusive staff restaurant and a roof terrace for the third floor administration department. There are also plans for a rooftop ‘beached raft’ hospitality area that will frame views over the city towards the sea and the South Downs.

Ager said: “Creating a healing environment isn’t only about correct surgical procedures and the right technology, but also about making an atmosphere where the patients feel able to relax enough to clearly think through their options and to properly take part in the healing process themselves.

“Designing The Montefiore Hospital has been technically demanding, yet incredibly rewarding for all involved.”

Mike Rawlinson, estates and building projects manager at Spire Healthcare, added: “This was an iconic building in a prime location but the challenge was to convert it into a modern, private hospital facility. This involved not only the usual need for interpreting our operational requirements into a design solution, but also making the design work for a Victorian building. IBI Nightingale rose to that challenge maintaining the character and features of the original building and at the same time creating a state-of-the-art hospital with boutique hotel comfort.”

The building is designed to achieve a BREEAM ‘very good’ rating through the specification of Green Guide ‘A’ or ‘A+’ materials and a design that facilitates demand-driven services wherever possible using building energy management systems. The comprehensive structural upgrade is also a flexible design solution capable of accommodating change in the future.

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