The Blue Bell Centre in Knowsley had a tough job to do. Several separate GP surgeries were moving into one brand new space, to offer a streamlined and more effective central resource for the community; and whilst the new centre offered a brighter, more pleasant environment than before, some patients were worried that the move meant that the GP practices were all merging, and were sad to see the old surgeries being moved. Knowsley Arts and Heritage Service and NHS Knowsley commissioned a programme of works that would tackle different aspects of the move and be carefully integrated into the design of the new centre.
A wayfinding system was developed with artist and graphic designer Adam Mileusnic. This was used as a way to reassure patients that the doctors surgeries were not undergoing a merger, they were simply moving to the same building, and would retain their independence. The wayfinding scheme was developed to clearly define the individual practices from one another, using distinct colourways. These colourways were then used to design a flowing wooden wayfinding system, which gently directs patients to their own doctor whilst retaining a tactile and natural aesthetic inkeeping with the building’s architecture. The designs were chosen in conjunction with the local community through workshops with young advisors and a drop-in consultation session for the general public.
Being a new build, it was decided to involve local schoolchildren who would grow up using the centre. Adam was commissioned again, and created a sculptural installation to hang in the atrium. The building has an ‘Excellent’ BREEAM rating for its environmentally friendly design, making it one of the greenest new health centres in the UK. So Adam chose to focus on the green issues of the centre, and ran workshops in three local primary schools on the theme of green electricity. As the centre’s power is generated from the natural elements, he created a chandelier using lightbulbs which were filled with coloured sand by over one hundred local schoolchildren to create rainbow patterns, and suspended from a steel structure, as if raining down from the sky.
Outside the centre artist Steve Des Landes created a link to the past, designing seating that draws upon the history of the area. The design was developed in consultation with local people through workshop sessions and a community ‘drop in’ evening. The curved seat utilises FSC approved European Oak sympathetic to the buildings ‘green’ ethos. The seat uprights feature four decorative reconstituted stone panels, each depicting an aspect of the area’s heritage; from a mention in the Domesday book to the streets named after World War II battles, plus old local landmarks such as the Blue Bell Pub which previously occupied the same site.
The Blue Bell Centre is a Halton & St Helens, Knowsley and Warrington LIFT scheme, designed by JM Architects, development managed by Renova and funded by NHS Knowsley.
For further information please contact:
Knowsley Arts and Heritage Service t: 0151 443 5619
Adam Mileusnic w: www.twentyfiveandahalf.com
Steve Des Landes: w: www.dupecreative.com/clientsites/deslandes