Commissioned artists and designers so far include:

Ella Doran, Blaise Drummond, Katharine Morling, Morag Myerscough, Chrissie Macdonald and Andrew Rae for Peepshow Illustration Collective, Lemn Sissay, Bob and Roberta Smith, Chisato Tambayashi, Jessica Voorsanger, Chris Watson and Joby Williamson. 

The art strategy for the new Royal London Children's engaged children and young patients in workshops, playful consultation and surprise. The resulting commissions aim to create moments of intrigue and wonder within the hospital environment.

Designed by architects Cottrell and Vermeulen and designer Morag Myerscough
The Ann Riches Healing Space - Activity Space 2013
7th floor The Children's Hospital at The Royal London
     The Ann Riches Healing Space                                                 

 Photography by Gareth Gardner  1m8e1534                                                                               
 Photography by Gareth Gardner

 Woodland Wiggle Woodland Wiggle                
  Photography by NEXUS Productions

The million pound project is the result of a Royal Institute of British Architects competition to design two innovative play and garden spaces for the new Royal London's Children's Hospital that harness the healing power of art and play.

The activity space was funded by charitable donations from insurers OdysseyRe, Newline Group, Advent and Riverstone (all Fairfax companies) facilitated by Barts and The London Charity, and the outdoor space was funded by charitable donations from construction group Skanska.


Barts Health Children's Group Director, Jane Hawdon, said: "The Activity Space is a unique play concept, providing important respite from treatment and medical intervention, for children and their families".


Formally known as The Ann Riches Healing Space, the activity space has been designed by award-winning architects Cottrell and Vermeulen and designer Morag Myerscough, who worked together to create a uniquely vibrant, oversized living room, filled with Alice in Wonderland-scale objects. To create the feeling of a living room the double height space has been fitted with an oversize skirting board and decorated with what appears to be a traditional wallpaper pattern, but upon closer inspection reveals itself as a hand-drawn menagerie of animals. The living room is furnished with familiar objects; a chair, a lamp, a TV, a globe, a rug and toys that occupy the space on a supersize scale.


An enormous story telling chair sits in the middle of the room, beneath which patients can settle down and listen to a story. Hanging from the ceiling, a 4.5m diameter neon lampshade creates a disco space where interactive games are projected on the floor. The giant retro style television is so large that it allows young patients to ‘get inside the TV' and enjoy the games room.


A reinterpretation of a traditional globe maps the boroughs of London. The inside of the globe can also be explored and used as a space to relax. A traditional style rug has been reworked as a pixelated pattern and printed digitally and cleverly re-appropriated vibrant wooden tops and puzzle cubes form the seating in the space.


The living room is inhabited by Eddie the Tiger and Twoo the Wise owl and their friends who have come from Cozy Wood. The adventures of Eddie and his friends are narrated under the storytelling chair. ‘Twoo' the wise owl perches on the oversized chair whilst ‘Eddie' the gentle giant tiger lounges in front of the massive TV.  The young patients can sit on Eddie and play with pioneering interactive games designed by digital art wizard Chris O'Shea on the giant TV screen.


Barts Health Paediatric Consultant, Siobhan Carr, one of the many staff involved in the design of the spaces, said:  "The seeds of the concept were sown many years ago by the original architects and NHS staff working on the building plans for the new Royal London Hospital. We wanted to create spaces that would allow escape from the confines of hospital beds and side rooms and to facilitate a healing environment, especially for children with prolonged hospital stays.


" A big thank you is due to the Vital Arts Team, the Barts and The London charity team and many others along the way, for the way they have all worked together and persevered, allowing this vision to come to a fabulous fruition. "


Designer, Morag Mysercough said: "We wanted to create a place that was an escape for the young patients, an engaging place that was fun, playful & colourful, but at the same time gave the opportunity for the whole family  to relax together."

The project has been receiving some great press click here to take a look. 

Bob and Roberta Smith The National Animals of the East End 2012
Main Corridor
7th floor


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bob and roberta_lion bob and roberta_tiger bob and roberta_bear bob and roberta_pangolinbob and roberta_gazelle

Can you match the animal to the country?

Bob and Roberta Smith's artwork plays with political sloganeering, sign-painting and folk art. For the Children's Hospital, the artist has created a series of 19 paintings of assorted national animals, with a painted key to identify each animal's related country. The animals were nominated by the hospital community and celebrate the rich cultural diversity of Tower Hamlets. These colourful artworks are installed as a trail throughout the Children's Hospital for patients and staff to discover. Some are expected - whilst others are more surprising. Can you match the animal to the country?

Bob and Roberta Smith (born UK, 1963) lives and works in London. He completed a BA at the University of Reading followed by an MA at Goldsmiths. He has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally.


Vital Arts have worked closely with Barts Health NHS Trust's procurement team to transform the new children's hospital. Two leading east London designers were commissioned by Vital Arts to bring the best in contemporary design into the children's wards by introducing colour and playful energy.

Ella Doran Bedside Views  2011
In-patient wards
7th Floor

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In this pioneering commission, Vital Arts and acclaimed textile designer Ella Doran, worked closely with the Trust's procurement team to design and manufacture a series of furniture and textile products which challenge the conventions of standard interior design for healthcare settings. Ella Doran's unique sensibility, which finds magic and play in the everyday world, has turned institutional spaces into environments full of colour and intrigue, providing positive distraction for young patients.

The company of award-winning textile designer Ella Doran specialises in the surface design of distinctive home accessories and furnishings.

Ella Doran

Lemn Sissay and Morag Myerscough DAZZLE 2012
Dining Rooms
7th Floor  

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Designer Morag Myerscough and the Olympic poet-in-residence for 2012 Lemn Sissay, have created a dazzling new look for the children's dining rooms and social spaces. Lemn Sissay led a series of poetry workshops with young patients to create new poems. These poems  were then brought to life through a series of design workshops for patients led by Morag Myerscough. Finally Morag transformed the children's poems, designs and patterns into vibrant wallpapers and stencilled stools for the five children's hospital dining rooms.

Blaise Drummond A New Path to the Waterfall 2012
Critcal Care Corridor
6th Floor  

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Artist Blaise Drummond has created a stunning new commission for the new children's hospital Critical Care Department in response to the specific architecture of the new hospital, creating new relationships between the internal spaces and the outside world for patients and staff. Drummond creates paintings and sculptural installations in which clean lines of modernism are frozen in time within serene and delicate landscapes. For the children's hospital, Drummond has collaged paintings with found elements from nature. A rock, a nest of twigs and a tree branch are juxtaposed with painted mountains, decorative wallpapers and veneer tree trunks. In Drummond's work, modernism is recalled as a search for beauty, simplicity and a better way of life.

Blaise Drummond (born 1967, Liverpool) is a painter based in Ireland. Drummond studied at Edinburgh University, National College of Art and Design Dublin and Chelsea College of Art. His artwork has been exhibited and is in collections in the UK and internationally.  


Peepshow Collective A Journey Around my Pencil Case 2012
Routes to Theatres
6th and 7th Floor corridors, lift lobbies, anaesthetic rooms and recovery wards

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A Journey Around my Pencil Case is a mixed media installation transporting children from the wards, and taking them on a surprising and entertaining journey to the operating theatre. Peepshow Illustration Collective have created a route that incorporates hand-painted elements, sculpture and vibrant wallpapers. Follow the line drawn along the route as it climbs up into the ceiling, then dive deep underwater to discover glimmering jewels. A confetti welcome awaits patients the end of the journey; a celebratory carnival before a triumphant launch up to space.

Chrissie Macdonald (born in London in 1976) and Andrew Rae (born London 1976) are illustrators based in east London. Part of the celebrated illustration collective Peepshow, their work has formed part of major campaigns as well as in exhibitions in London and internationally.

Humans Since 1982
Clock Clock White  2011
Out-patients waiting area
6th floor


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A bespoke clock designed by Humans Since 1982 has been commissioned for the new children's hospital outpatients waiting area. The clock is comprised of 24 analogue clocks that together configure digital numerals. Every minute that passes is animated by the mechanics of each individual clock's motion. The clocks work together to make the passing of time a delightful and intriguing process.

Humans Since 1982 is a design duo based in Sweden. They have worked in collaboration since graduating from HDK, the school for design and crafts in Göthenburg, Sweden. Their work has been shown at major museums and galleries in London and internationally.

Joby Williamson Photograms 2012
Outpatients corridor
7th Floor

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Following a series of consultation sessions with children and parents on the wards, artist Joby Williamson has developed a series of photograms of intriguing everyday objects including toys, cups, carrier bags, rubber balls, paper aeroplanes and a jelly mould. This series imbues seemingly mundane domestic objects with vivid colour within unfamiliar compositions.


Joby Williamson (born in 1972 in London) lives and works in east London. He studied Fine Art at Manchester Metropolitan University and Printmaking at the Royal College of Art. His work has been shown in London and internationally.  

Jessica Voorsanger The Adventures of the Super Sizzling Seven 2012
Digital prints
Hospital Street
7th Floor

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Artist Jessica Voorsanger worked with young patients to devise a sizzling comic book caper.  Wigs, fancy dress and make up were put to good use as the children worked with Voorsanger to  invent characters and an adventure story. Their adventures have been installed in the new children's hospital in a series of large-scale prints and a comic book. The Adventures of the Super Sizzling Seven comic books are available to in-patients at the hospital.

Jessica Voorsanger works in a variety of media ranging from painting, sculpture, installation, film and performance. She studied at Rhode Island School of Design and at Goldsmith's College. She has shown in London and internationally and has developed projects for South London Gallery, Art on the Underground and the Hayward Gallery.



Katharine Morling Collective Memories of the London 2012
Ceramic and paint
Lift lobbies of The Royal London Children's Hospital
Ground Floor

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Ceramicist Katharine Morling spent six-weeks on children's wards working with patients to create sketchbooks recalling favourite memories and treasured toys. Morling then used these sketchbooks to develop porcelain sculptures for her commission for the new children's hospital. Featuring performing rhinos, butterflies and train tracks made from rulers, Collective Memories of the London presents a dream-like version of the everyday world.

Katharine Morling lives and works in east London. Morling studied at Falmouth University and at the Royal College of Art. Her award-winning ceramics are collected and exhibited nationally and internationally.

Tord Boontje Untitled 2013
Acrylic resin and vinyl
6th Floor

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Our latest commission by Tord Boontje is now complete. This stunning installation started taking shape back in February and consists of a sequence of vibrant vinyl flora and fauna in an eclectic mix of bright colours.

Alluding to renewal and growth, the work contains animals and elements in energising colours for children to find and discover. The larger drawings are very finely detailed and invite you to discover new elements day after day.
Over the past few months Boontje has added 3-dimensional elements to the installation such as laser cut creatures in shiny neon and matt Perspex, this has created layers and shadows within the piece which has added depth and interest to the hospital walls.

This site specific commission by Tord Boontje for Vital Arts can be found in the paediatric critical care unit at the Royal London Hospital where it is being enjoyed by the children, parents and staff of Barts Health.