Fill a pool with water – then just add colour + light

Colour and light at Perdiswell Leisure centre which was completed in December 2016

The initial brief of designing a large scale coloured manifestation for the pool hall was expanded to include various other features around the centre as well as advising the client on all the interior finishes.

Main contractor Speller Metcalfe, client Worcester City Council.




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.

Sumptuous curves in GRP

Wave seat in GRPWave seat in GRP

We’ve been manufacturing these fabulous GRP seats for several years. The curving design allows for many different break out arrangements and they can be used both indoors and outdoors.

The Wave seat was shortlisted for the 2007 BdI ( Birmingham Design & Industry) Product Genius category. Almost 100 entries were submitted for the high profile awards scheme, which serves to recognise and celebrate the most inspirational building, environmental and product designs borne out of Birmingham and the West Midlands. The seat was also included in the Gold category for specifiers in Birmingham BSF programme.

Pictured is a 3D render showing a new module that is going to be added to the range giving even more connection possibilities.

Pricing for the Wave seat starts at £850 ex VAT  per unit which reduces depending on order quantity. The full RAL spectrum is available for any quantity ordered.

More on this product here

Super graphics for a health setting – biophilic design

Main Entrance graphic Main Entrance graphicWe’ve been working on a range of super graphic features for a new build health setting. These graphics are part of a design intent to create a welcoming space which references biophilic design principles – encouraging the merging of the outside with the inside in order to create a more harmonious and relaxed space.

This artwork is looking at ‘Flow’ as a theme and is arranged on panels of digitally printed material stretched onto aluminium extruded frames. ‘Flow’ is being used as a way of expressing ideas about the patient journey, design in nature, DNA and the transfer of positive energy.

Biophilic design principles are not a new trend and there is a growing awareness of the critical role that these principles can have in patient welfare. Here’s a study, Beyond Positive Distraction : Biophilic Engagement in Healthcare Spaces – Part 1, which talks through some of the data that has been collected around this issue.

MK Hospital design developments

Sometimes it seems that you’ve been very quiet when in reality you’ve been very busy working on a whole series of concepts.

Milton Keynes Hospital have commissioned us to develop ideas for both the Children’s Wards as well as other parts of the hospital. It follows on from a previous commission to create graphics for Ward 4. Working with the Arts For Health team we’ve been developing a load of very exciting proposals of which the Nature Trail concepts below are a small sample of the project development.

A key challenge for the scheme is to ensure that our programme connects and integrates with the larger hospital maintenance regime as there are some interesting opportunities that can arise from that collaboration.

Our next step is to run some focus group work with young people to gauge their reaction to the current proposals as well as gather their ideas .

You can find out more about the excellent work of Arts For Health here

mk-nature walk mk-nature walk mk-nature walk

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


Project Fitzroy commission appointment

Project Fitzroy logo band We’re really pleased to announce that we’ve been appointed for a design commission with St. Andrew’s Healthcare to work closely with their architects (P+HS) to explore, develop, design and deliver a coherent visual framework for their new build scheme. An integral part of our role will be to design way-finding graphics, wall super graphics and systems for the display of service user art. The client has also given us the freedom to exert a creative influence on the overall design process and enter into a positive dialogue with the architects. We will be identifying opportunities for design interventions that are integral to the design of the hospital, within the building, interior design and potentially within the landscape. This could include working with the architects on colour and finishes within the building if deemed appropriate.

The new build development will be a Secure Adolescent Mental Health and Learning Disability Service Unit in Northampton.

Work starts on this scheme from this October onwards with the scheme completion set for March 2016.

More about Willis Newson here and P+SH architects here



Redditch Gateway ‘Needles’ commission revisited after 10 years

Redditch Needles sculpture

The Redditch ‘Needles’ scheme was designed to reflect the rich history of needle making in Redditch. At one time the town was at the centre of the needle making industry, producing over 90% of the total world production of needles. The design of the gateway feature which was commissioned by the owners of the Kingfisher shopping centre presented eight large 9 metre stainless steel needles plunged into the paving at various angles.

The library facade initially caused us some design headaches; what to do with a very large 12m high backdrop to the needle structures? The solution was to develop the concept of a bolster of striped fabric which ran down the library cladding as a painted finish and then expressed in the paving by using three different coloured pavers. Finally we incorporated a running thread line of cast bronze pavers impressed with significant ‘needle making’ words, scissors and threads produced with local school children and people who came to the Saturday market.

Subsequently Redditch Borough Council commissioned Cantoo to develop paving designs for the refurbishment of Alcester Street – a principal pedestrian area in the town centre adjacent to the shopping centre. We continued the theme of the needles from the first phase and embedded black and white granite cut needles into the paving scheme with a continuation of the thread of cast bronze pavers from the earlier scheme. The needles appear to weave in and out of the paving so as to look like a card of needles typically sold in shops.

Both elements of the scheme are still present and intact although the paving for the second phase of the scheme was replaced recently with tarmac which has compromised the original design intent. Sadly one cedes control of a scheme once it’s handed over particularly in these cash strapped local authority days.

It’s interesting to see the journey of a scheme once its been completed. A casual search online will reveal many photographs that have been taken by individuals over the last few years. The Visit North Worcestershire website features the ‘Needles’ on its home page and we include their photo as well as our 3D render for comparison.

Artists : Tim Tolkien and Eric Klein Velderman

More about the scheme here

Redditch Needles sculpture render


Meadows SEN acoustic digital banner


Continuing the theme from the earlier posting. This was an acoustic banner produced with Meadows SEN school as part of their new build programme. Rising up over 2 storeys; the banner is approximately H7m x W5m and has been stretched over a special aluminium frame supplied by Service Graphics.

Y11 students took part in ID – identity workshops that explored positive self images as well as describing motivational words. The artwork was conceived as a woven structure of interlaced strips of colour and photos of the actual participants which taken as a whole represented the diversity of the pupils. Taking a self-portrait and then cutting it up was for some quite a challenging experience. Some of the pupils on the more extreme end of the autistic spectrum were at pains to re-assemble the images so we spent quite a lot of time talking about order and disorder.

As ever in this sort of work; the conversations are as important as the outcomes.

Albert Village Primary school banner commission

albert village_banner72

Here’s one from the archives! A digital acoustic banner commission for Albert Village Primary school in Leicestershire completed in April 2012.

We had a call from the architects in Leicestershire County Council Property Services to put us in touch with the school to help solve the problem of a big blank wall. The solution was this acoustic banner which both helped to animate the space but also solved the acoustic problems in that area. Eric Klein Velderman ran workshops with the pupils to collect and develop ideas for the banner which were then digitally composited into the final artwork.

The banner references both the eco environment that the school were trying to encourage as well as the former pit mining activities that took place in the area. In fact there’s a pit wheel just outside the school. If you look carefully you can just make out the outline of the pit wheel in the banner based on photographs taken by some of the young people and converted into vector artwork. The artwork also includes mini leaf artworks that the pupils created with the artist; these were the result of collecting leaves and then making selective arrangements based on size, colour and shape which were then photographed so that they could be used in the banner.

After the work was completed the school said;

“The banner is brilliant thank you, everyone that has seen it is amazed that the children helped to create it”

Enough said…