Rhythm and colour of Albers art inspires new children's unit

20 November 2018

Rhythm and colour of Albers art inspires new children's unit
The work of legendary artists Josef and Anni Albers has been installed and used as the foundation for a set of stunning new interiors for the children's intensive care unit at St Mary's Hospital.

The design of the new and improved unit was created by Ben Smith of Sable & Hawkes as part of a collaboration between Imperial Health Charity, Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust and The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation.

Inspired by the Albers' iconic geometric patterns, the project has led to the creation of a supportive and welcoming environment for critically ill children and their families.

The unit inclues wall murals and prints from Josef's Homage to the Square series, as well as bespoke bed screens and wallpaper taken from Anni's designs.

Lucy Zacaria, Head of Arts at Imperial Health Charity, said: "The new unit looks truly wonderful. The works of Josef and Anni Albers have transformed the space, bringing colour and movement into what may otherwise seem a very sterile environment. The playful, modernist designs will appeal to children and adults alike."

When complete, the Trust's £10 million refurbishment of children's intensive care will almost double the number of beds and enable staff to treat an extra 200 children a year.

The charity awarded a grant of £2.8 million and led a £2 million fundraising campaign - the More Smiles Appeal - to support the project.

The first phase of the development was completed in October, with the second phase due to be finished in spring 2019.

Nicholas Fox Weber, Director of the Albers Foundation, initiated the artistic collaboration after his grandson, Wilder, was born at St Mary's in 2014.

He said: "For Anni Albers, abstract art was a source of balance and diversion, a relief from life's troubles. For both her and Josef, the universal and timeless qualities of rhythm and colour brighten existence as can nothing else and enable people to withstand some of life's greatest challenges.

"With energy and heart, the people at St Mary's have realised the wonderful transformation of the children's intensive care unit to an unprecedented degree and my hope is that it will become the benchmark of what can be done worldwide wherever there are children - and the people who love them - in need."

To find out more about our hospital art collection, click here.