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

Sellincourt Refurbishment programme updates

We recently ran workshops with Y4 and 5 pupils at Sellincourt to think about and develop ideas for a large digital banner for the new school lobby.

The lobby is part of the refurbishment programme and will be remodelled to include (budgets permitting) a new glazed partition separating the main hall from the visitor holding area and a re-jigged Reception counter. The banner is based on a tree motif derived from existing Victorian ironwork in the school. Pupils drew lots of different trees and also the sorts of things that you might find in the branches. Measuring over 2 metres wide and 4 metres high it should make quite an impression on visitors!


sellincourt banner sellincourt banner

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


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


Getting ‘hands on’ with Metalier

Metalier sample
Metalier sample

Tim Tolkien and Eric Klein Velderman attended a very exciting ‘hands on’ CPD at Granlyn Specialist Coatings today. Granlyn are the sole UK distributor of ‘Metalier’ – a special metal coating that can be sprayed or applied with tooling onto a massive range of substrates.

We spent the day having a go at mixing up the material, spraying test samples and applying by hand onto MDF panels. Once the material has cured there’s a fairly arduous sanding process working through grades of paper to take away the bonding agent in order to achieve either a mirror polished finish or the more roughened surfaces. We first came across Granlyn at the London Surface Design show 2014 but they happen to be based in West Bromwich – so nearby!

There are a range of coatings including aluminium, copper and iron. The latter of course is magnetic. Costs are reasonable and we can think of loads of applications – if you’re interested give them a call.

Formica showcase Ysgol Y Gogarth

Counter detail

Ysgol Y Gogarth counter

Our friends at Formica have showcased our use of Charcoal Boomerang used in the Vocational Cafe at the newly completed Ysgol Y Gogarth SEN school.

The vocational cafe will be used to give pupils a real life feel of working in a cafe serving customers and handling money. The cafe has a deliberate 50s retro look with shiny stainless steel and leatherette seating booths.

Look at the Formica entry here 

More on this project here