Context and restrictions
- Can only be used for a one-day event
- Must be low cost
- Needs to adapt to a fast paced changing hospital environment, and easy to take down in an emergency
For the first week, we visited the hospital, observed patients, interviewed stakeholders and did trails of the current artwork on display. This also involved a visit to the paintings archive within the hospital, which contained hundreds of stored paintings! A lot of thought had gone into the placement of the paintings within the hospital. For instance, painted tiles from the original hospital site were placed on a corridor which linked the new wards to the chapel, symbolising the transitions to new places. We also noticed that for a lot of patients, the hospital artwork was the least of their concerns as they waited for test results and appointments. We realised we needed to find a way for the work to be disruptive and engaging.
Research about Charing Cross Hospital
Our work is always site specific, and we wanted to create an interaction which was very meaningful to the hospital, it’s specialisms, treatments, and the patients who attend there. After a lot of research and interviewing with stakeholders, we found that Charing Cross Hospital has the largest stroke rehabilitation and dementia unit in London. Both of these are conditions which affect memory. Strangely, we found that there is a strong link between smell and memory: 80% of people who show signs of poor smell will eventually develop dementia. We knew that there was a way to link these projects together and we decided to create some perfumes.
We returned to the hospital to decide which artworks were the most accessible and recognisable. We wanted paintings which provided a diverse range of recognisable environments.
We tried to incorporate as many sensory elements into our branding as possible, accounting for the fact that there were many patients who had different perceptions of the senses. This included:
- Physical perfume bottles in the same shape and orientation as the original artwork
- Scents directly mapped to the ratios in the painting e.g. a painting which had 90% apples would have 90% apple scent
- Matching visual elements within the perfume bottles and the original paintings
We delivered the exhibition as a stand in two locations around the hospital over 8 hour blocks. The first was in the out-patient lobby, so we were able to capture staff, patients and visitors as they entered and left the hospital. We then toured the perfumes to the stroke and rehabilitation wards and spent an hour with the patients there. Each of the scents had take home tester strips which people could take home with them as a reminder of the event.