Architects: Two Create
Location: The New Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham, England
Designers: Lucy Snowdowne, Tobie Snowdowne, Felix Trunk, Melanie Graf
Creative Directors: Lucy & Tobie Snowdowne
Client: Teenage Cancer Trust
Photographs: John Selby
From the architect. London based Two Create were commissioned to design the latest Teenage Cancer Trust Unit in the brand new state of the art Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham. Known as the Teenage Cancer Trust YPU (Young Persons Unit) the 12 patient ward consists of four single bed bays, two four bed bays and three social spaces including a study room, cinema room and kitchen/day room.
Patients were consulted throughout the design process and a ‘Boutique Hotel’ theme emerged. Each room is styled differently to the next so that patients returning for treatment are able to stay in different environments each time they visit, such as the 1960’s inspired 'Pop' room or New York styled 'Loft'. Standard fittings were cleverly utilized or adapted like the metal clad wall panels at the bed heads, where Two Create designed die-cut sheet magnets used by patients to personalise their rooms with personal artifacts such as posters and photographs.
Classic furniture pieces and carefully chosen objects were illustrated and converted into vinyl stickers, then arranged to create the backdrops for the rooms e.g. the Loft room contains illustrations of furniture and lighting by Harry Bertoia and Archille Castiglioni and objects such as the classic 1987 Nike Air Max training shoe and even a 'lucky cat' referencing New York's Chinatown.
Two Create also designed bespoke pieces for the ward such as patient lockers specially designed to hold games consoles as well as vital medicines and personal belongings, small console tables able to be lifted by patients pushing drips and AV storage for all the latest technology being installed. SCP and Vitra were chosen to supply contemporary furniture, spec’ed in the latest anti-microbial high performance fabrics with design modifications to satisfy patient’s needs.
Every day in the UK, six young people are told they have cancer. Usually placed on a children’s ward or with elderly patients, young people often feel extremely isolated when facing a cancer diagnosis. Teenage Cancer Trust builds units in NHS hospitals that offer young people specialist care, bringing them together so they can support each other in an environment suited to them. Including this new facility in Birmingham, there are now 17 of these units across the country. The charity plans to build a further 16 so that all young people needing hospital treatment for cancer across the UK have access to the dedicated, specialist support they provide.