1. Click image to expand

    Willow Burn Hospice in County Durham. Picture: Kristen McCluskie

  2. Click image to expand

    Willow Burn Hospice in County Durham. Picture: Kristen McCluskie


Scandinavian-inspired design for hospice interior

Magda Ibrahim
08 Jan 2019

Philanthropist Helen McArdle has funded a new wing at a hospice in northern England.

The natural world and landscape of northern England is a design theme running through the new Helen McArdle Wing at Willow Burn Hospice in County Durham. 

Funded by a donation of £1.5m from entrepreneur and philanthropist Helen McArdle, the new facilities provide respite care, short breaks and end-of-life care to those with a life-limiting illness. 

Bernard Interiors designed and fitted out the interior to create an inviting and comforting contemporary environment, inspired by a piece of artwork created by patients, staff and volunteers at Willow Burn Hospice.

Kathryn Mason, senior designer at Bernard Interiors, said: “Our brief for the interior came from Helen, who envisioned a warm Scandinavian design which connected with the stunning views of the landscape surroundings. 

“We took a piece of artwork at Willow Burn as inspiration – it is a tree, each leaf handmade from felt in vibrant colours, and it is now displayed as the focal point of the reception area. There are pops of the same colours throughout the building. 

“It was important to acknowledge the love and care that went into the making of the tree, and to ensure that it continues to provide a lasting legacy for all of those who were involved.” 

The scheme is fresh and contemporary using light toned woods and soft colours against a neutral background. 

The natural theme features in the bronze-coloured laser-cut metal fretwork panel at the front of the reception desk and the decal on the glass screen to the café, while all the bedroom suites are named after trees. 

Contemporary artworks hang in the reception, bedrooms and corridors in bespoke box frames and back-painted glass is used for splashbacks in the bathrooms and kitchen. 

All the project signage has been designed by Bernard Interiors, using a champagne-coloured metal lined with white for a clean and crisp finish to the interior. 

For the in-patient suites Bernard Interiors worked with hoist manufacturer Innova to design a cabinet to house the hoist that was both practical and attractive as a piece of furniture, including lighting and decorative back panels. 

The beds are also a bespoke design by Bernard interiors and MMO Medical with vinyl-upholstered head and foot boards. 

Paul Jackson, chair of Willow Burn Hospice said: “The new facilities mean that we are able to care for more people and provide much-improved family support and bereavement services. 

“We strive to provide a homely, welcoming environment. The interior design of the new wing not only helps patients to feel more relaxed, it helps our staff to provide high quality care maintaining each person’s dignity, privacy and comfort.” 

The architect for the project was IDPartnership and the contractor was Walter Thompson.

The WIN Awards showcase the very best global creativity and talent in interior design across categories covering interior products, practice and projects as well as branding concepts. The full list of winners of the WIN Awards 2018 is here.

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