Milton Mouse is getting a makeover

The Milton Mouse Children’s Unit at MK University Hospital is getting a makeover.

The project started with a commission from the Arts for Health team to develop a mural design for Ward 4 on the Children’s Unit. The brief was to develop a feature that would enhance the ward with minimal maintenance implications. We ran some very successful engagement sessions with staff and young patients to create river themed artwork and this was then developed into a wall ‘river’ super graphic which was installed by local sign company Chameleon on the existing wall panels along the main corridor leading into the ward.

The hospital were so delighted as were their patients that a few months later the hospital asked Cantoo to take on a much bigger scheme to help transform the entire Children’s Unit consisting of 2 wards and a day centre unit with a whole range of graphics and other associated refurbishments.

Part of the scheme included producing new layouts for the Play Area, coordinating the installation of some immersive technology as well as designing bespoke fitted furniture and specifying new loose furniture. We also helped to develop an overarching colour scheme which was used as part of the ongoing decorating maintenance programme.

The project has been delivered in phases; Ward 4 was followed by Ward 5 and now we’re about to implement works on the day centre unit, Milton Mouse, for young out-patients.

Project FitzRoy – taking a walk through fields and sky in a brand new CAMHS unit

Today patients and staff are moving into the brand new FitzRoy House CAMHS unit.

We were commissioned by St Andrews Healthcare Trust to deliver a design integration project as part of their new Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) unit. The two storey facility will give specialised bespoke care for up to 110 young people and is the largest residential mental health facility for adolescents within Europe.

Early on we involved the service users in an engagement programme which explored every aspect of the new building. These workshops generated ideas which helped to develop the concepts for the interior design of the building; providing a positive environment and one which will ease the service users’ transition into their new building.

We used the workshop process to discuss how different colours made them feel which we then developed into a set of biophilic themes around nature with colour schemes linked to ‘Field + Sky’. This theme and the conversations we had were used to inform the naming of the 11 new wards such as Brook, Fern and Berry and also the colours, super graphics and zones around the building.

Starting in the wards; the most private spaces, super graphics were used to identify and personalise each space including the ensuite bathrooms, the dining rooms and each ward entrance. The themes and colours were also used to develop coherent wayfinding elements for the public spaces with features in the main entrance, the Education area, Sports facilities and outdoor spaces. An important part of the integrated design approach was to develop modular systems which could be used throughout the building. One example of this are the display boards on each ward which will be ‘owned’ and customised by each service user as well as the circulation 3D display cases. We even worked on a 1:1 basis with one service user to create the signage for the ‘Branch Out’ cafe.

A critical part of the whole design process was the sampling and qualifying of designs and  specifications for the new unit. Aside from the paramount anti-ligature concerns the client has extensive experience in what does and doesn’t work in relation to safeguarding issues for their service users. The challenge was to integrate these stringent design parameters into the various manufactured elements whilst at the same time maintaining a light touch – a hard trick to pull off but one we feel we succeeded in achieving. The overall feel of the spaces is of light, natural textures and colour which encourages the user to journey through the building taking a walk through fields and sky.

Take a look here for more background information on the project.

Architect : P+HS Architects
Contractor : Galliford Try
Client : St Andrews Healthcare Trust
Agent : Willis Newson

Great feedback on engagement sessions


We recently ran some engagement sessions for a large CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service) scheme that we’re working on.

Here’s some lovely feedback we received from a senior member of staff;

“The latest service user art workshops took place on 14th – 16th October. Eric Klein Velderman facilitated the workshops with service users in order to develop the final designs for the new building through consultation and creative engagement with our service users. These designs included a number of integrated and graphic based artworks for the ward dining rooms, ward games rooms, the sports hall, education & therapy entrance,  café, main entrance and each ward staff base and ward entrance.

The workshops saw up to 30 service users taking part each day across all units within the Adolescent Pathway. There were very positive reactions  from the service users when Eric showed them the overall scheme with comments such as “That’s going to be wicked” and “That’s cool that we’ll have the same staff (!), what will the bedrooms look like?”

Eric skilfully managed to tailor each workshop according to the different abilities & needs of the young people, grading and selecting activities depending on cognitive abilities, their motor skills and communication abilities. He used a variety of teaching approaches including demonstration, modelling, verbal instructions, physical and verbal prompts in order for the young people to be successful and engage in the activity to complete an end product. He introduced all the workshops, explaining the aim of the workshops and putting this into the wider context of the overall art plan for the new building. This sparked enthusiasm for the project from both the staff and young people.

He tailored his communication skills to the needs of the young people; for example when working with the autistic population, simplifying instructions given and planning 3 step tasks where there was immediate cause and effect. He engaged brilliantly with the service users, engaging and consulting with their ideas, expanding on their ideas and praising them throughout. He demonstrated excellent therapeutic use of self in his approach to engage service users, responding with humour to young people who engaged in playful ‘banter’ but with others being very gentle, quiet and calm to put the young people at ease”.




Bristol Royal Infirmary commission – not quite!

Sadly this is going to be one of those schemes that got away (just).

But because we liked our initial concepts so much we thought we’d share it any case. The scheme which is being managed by Willis Newson called for designs for the entrance to the paediatric wards as well as super graphics for the corridors.

We proposed that the entrance which is compromised by unauthorised car parking and feeling somewhat ‘out of the way’ would be enhanced with a series of metal powder coated tree artworks that would wrap around and over-clad the existing rather banal concrete columns. A woodland theme which linked to the outdoor trail would be emphasised with cast bronze birds on the new bollards to help prevent the inappropriate car parking. On entering the wards we proposed that the woodland theme would be extended as series of friezes depicting trees and leaves as well as various creatures to help animate the spaces and direct visitors through the (endless) corridors. We were keen to explore how different materials could be used to transform the circulation areas and considered vinyl film as well as jet cutting substrates such as the wonderful 3Form resin sheets, formica and various hygienic wall cladding systems.

If you’ve got a similar scheme and would like some advice then why not give us a call.   BRI-corridor graphics-1b1c 01-BRI-cam8 BRI elevation

MK Children’s Ward super graphics installation

MK Childrens WardThe Milton Keynes Children’s Ward super graphics were successfully installed today by our signage specialists Chameleon Co. The designs were generated during a day of drawing workshops with young patients on the wards assisted by the ever enthusiastic MK Arts in Health team.

With an overall running length of 13 metres and a full wall height of 2.7m the design certainly makes a big impact when visitors first enter the ward. We used a mixture of full colour printed vinyls on the panel sections and optically clear vinyl on the glazed areas so as to allow good sight lines into the side wards.

The fish stream design was used to create a dynamic flow through the ward and provide plenty of interest at different heights for toddlers and young people. The ward has children varying in age from under 5s to 17 year olds so it was important to find a theme that was age appropriate across the spectrum. Milton Keynes has a multitude of popular gravel pit, lake and canal fishing spots so there’s a good chance that patients will recognise the fish swimming across their ward!

More here about the MK Arts in Health programme


MK Children's Ward

MK Children's Ward


Milton Keynes Children’s Ward commission

mk hospital

We’re going to be working with the Children’s Ward at Milton Keynes hospital to develop a permanent artwork on the ward.

The commission is part of their exciting Arts For Health programme. The programme uses arts and creativity to improve health and wellbeing. The programme grew out of the voluntary Hospital Arts Committee that had the vision to develop an art collection at the hospital. Hospitals are often very stressful places to be admitted to, to visit and to work in.  Art in a hospital provides an opportunity to be distracted and this helps to improve patient outcomes.  The collection at Milton Keynes Hospital currently has 390 artworks and Arts for Health manages the display of these as well as organising an annual programme of temporary exhibitions in the hospital.