The Octav Botnar Wing (OBW) is a six-storey building at Great Ormond Street Hospital (GOSH) that opened in early 2006.
The Octav Botnar Wing includes an orthopaedic inpatient unit, a medical day care centre and the Harris International Patient Centre.
Each floor of the OBW is named after an animal or natural element – many of the artworks relate to these themes.
The artists who were commissioned include Kenny Hunter, Mariele Neudecker, Hoss Gifford, Iain Kettles and Susie Hunter and Clare Twomey.
Kenny Hunter is one of the UK’s foremost figurative artists and is famous for his engaging sculptures.
Kenny used the theme of the natural world to develop a sculpture which stands between three buildings – OBW, Southwood and the Camellia Botnar laboratories.
The sculpture looks at the co-existence of humans and animals in the urban environment and considers how animals exist in the city. There are more animals to look out for on the walls and window sills of the link atrium including a squirrel, a falcon and a pigeon.
Mariele Neudecker works in sculpture, film and photography. She is nationally and internationally renowned for her atmospheric representations of landscapes in glass vitrines.
Mariele created three miniature landscapes based on imaginary worlds for the circulation areas of OBW, inspired by the different themes of each floor.
Hoss Gifford is an award-winning digital industries specialist. He has published several books, is a visiting lecturer at Glasgow School of Art and is a regular speaker at international design and technology conferences.
Hoss created an animation for the lift cars of OBW. The animation tells the story of the imaginary island of Tookubah, an island paradise in the middle of a far-away ocean. No person has ever set foot on Tookubah, but it is home to a collection of eccentric creatures.
The story of Tookubah
Tookubah is an island paradise in the middle of a far away ocean. Every day is happy and warm, and every evening it sees to the most breathtaking of sunsets. Tookubah is a little piece of paradise that no person has ever set foot on, but it is home to a collection of creatures that happily live their days and nights in their very own eccentric ways.
Tundal is a lazy kingfisher that spends his days sitting on a log at the side of the water, waiting for his dinner to come to him. He’s a bit slow though and the fish love to tease him by jumping out of the water right in front of him.
Bumble is a bee that loves to daydream while buzzing about, looking for pretty flowers to land on. She frequently forgets where she’s going and bumps into trees and she’s even been known to come very close to being Tundal’s dinner.
Another candidate for Tundal’s dinner is Kai - a butterfly whose beauty is only exceeded by his vanity. He loves to fly over the water to admire his own reflection, even though those pesky fish keep jumping out the water to grab him. Kai is too fast for them and he even loves to tease Tundal by flying about behind him then flying past to give that lazy kingfisher a fright!
Drahdo is the leader of the shoal of fish that spend much of their time racing about in the shallows off Tookubah. She’s always in a rush, but never seems to get anywhere! She leads her shoal with graceful movements and is known to jump high out of the water.
Heetah is a seagull that loves to fly through the trees on Tookubah to show that she is the fastest and most agile creature alive, or so she says. She loves to swoop down to almost touch the water and then swoop up high to feel the warmth of the sun on her wings. She lives on the rocky cliff on the west side of the island.
Last but certainly not least is Chawfay, Tookubah’s resident comedian. Chawfay is a caterpillar that always has a funny word to say about everything! He may not be the fastest creature on Tookubah, but he adds a considerable personality to this island paradise.
Iain Kettles and Susie Hunter trained in environmental art and jewellery respectively. For the OBW they created a giant inflatable tree stalk that supports an inflatable bird, caterpillar and rabbit. The artwork is colourful, dynamic and fun and can be viewed from the waiting and play areas which overlook the atrium.
Clare Twomey collects everyday objects – such as butter dishes, teacups and spoons - and casts them into walls to create extraordinary installations.
Clare has cast more than 2,200 children’s toys and household items from different cultures and periods for the entrance atrium of the OBW.
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