Helen McArdle Wing opens at Willow Burn Hospice
The Helen McArdle Wing at Willow Burn Hospice near Lanchester in County Durham is now open, funded by a donation of £1.5m from entrepreneur and philanthropist Helen McArdle.
Bernard Interiors designed and fitted out the interior to create an inviting and comforting contemporary environment. There is a reception area and community café, six room in-patient unit, spa bathroom and family lounge. Each inpatient room has its own bathroom and private balcony.
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 was created a couple of years ago by patients, staff and volunteers during a project with Dry Water Arts, funded by a Big Lottery Awards for All grant.
“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.
“Seeing the whole project come together, and especially the reactions of the staff and patients as it completed, was an absolute joy.”
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. All the bedroom suites are named after trees.
“Details are important to give an overall feeling of comfort and luxury,” Kathryn continued.
“Light fittings in the café and reception area are oversized hoops. Contemporary artworks hang in the reception, bedrooms and corridors in bespoke box frames. 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.
Helen McArdle said: “I am extremely proud to be supporting the hospice, which is such a wonderful organisation, as they set out on a journey that will change the face of care in the local area.
“The interior design combines comfort and style with everything that patients and staff need for care, and it looks absolutely stunning.”
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.
Photos:Kristen McCluskie (© Kristen McCluskie www.kristenmccluskie.com).