AQUATIC FLORA - PERMANENT ART COMMISSION, ST. THOMAS’ HOSPITAL, WESTMINSTER, LONDON

The bespoke nine-storey high artworks Aquatic Flora I & II by Tsai & Yoshikawa sit inside St. Thomas’ Hospital’s new East Wing glass atria and depict large, eye-catching botani­cal forms ‘like floating plants in an aquarium’. They are artistic alternatives to the fish tanks often found in hospital waiting rooms, to provide a chance for therapeutic observation by evoking the effect of underwater plants that sway relaxingly. The designs were selected after receiving more than 50 per cent of votes from patients and staff who took part in an extensive consultation exercise.

Working in a hospital environment brought some new challenges to the artists, as to ensure patient safety the artwork had to comply with strict infection control and fire safety regulations. Consequently, the artists worked closely with the project management team at Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust, the architects, Hopkins, the contractors, ISG, and project manager Mace to ensure the artwork was a truly integrated part of the redevelopment, and to identify the ideal construction and rigging materials to meet the artistic and technical brief.

Aquatic Flora I & II are on permanent display at East Wing, St. Thomas’ Hospital, Westminster Bridge Road, London, SE1 7EH

A short film about the making of the artwork