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Nominated for the fifth year in a row – Digital Printer Awards 2016

 The nominated project for Medway NHS Foundation Trust.

Gift medway

This is our fifth project now completed under “The Gift of Life” Each time we strive to get bigger and better than the previous, pushing the boundaries and exploring the delights of what is conceivable from large format print. Digital Plus are continuing to lead from the front, from what was the unimaginable to now, the achievable within our world of large format print.


What was the aim of the Project?

To recreate the concept ideas and designs into an impressive three-dimensional artwork within the Medway hospital atrium, dedicated to all those who have selflessly become organ donors.

The brief was to create various species of birds flocking together and flying to ultimately form a heart shape around the wording The Gift of Life, before soaring up into the highest parts of the wall depicting freedom and new life.
The final design was to portray over a hundred birds from the many species that visit the Medway Estuary.

 How did we meet customer requirements?

One hundred and twenty birds were chosen from over eight species, each one bespoke cut to shape out of composite aluminium, and printed in a selection of aged metal finish effects. Each of the finishes were chosen to give depth and a textured look that replicates the true look of birds in flight. Each one was to a different size along with the centre piece wording” The Gift of Life.” These were then accurately placed to create both the heart shape and flying flocks. Printed and cut vinyl was selected to provide the main heading to run along the width of the finished design. An additional printed plaque illustrating the identity of each bird species of this finished piece of art along with information on how to become an organ donor was also included.

What were the particular challenges?

The first challenge was to recreate the aged metal finishes that each cut out bird would be printed onto. To use actual metals such as brass or copper would make it very expensive and heavy to install. Secondly was the problem of installing in a working hospital, as they were required to fit to an existing wall over four floors high [15mt high x18.5mt Wide]. Each part was required to be fitted in its exact position, creating the three-dimensional look therefore a detailed plan had to be worked out and assessed prior to installation.

What did you do to address them?

Many tests were carried out on various options. The chosen effects were digital images of aged metal effects, and these were overlaid on the outline of each bird to create this unique effect and then printed using UV inks. Each set of stand off fixings were of different lengths to help create the three-dimensional effect of birds in flight, each were topped with a printed vinyl cap to match with its paired bird to blend within its design. Printed templates at finished size were made and laid out on site before final positioning on the wall. A large extendable scissor lift was required as a working platform to reach all the required accessible parts of the atrium wall.

Evidence of the effectiveness of the job

 When the project was competed it was described as “Overwhelmingly positive ” “beautiful” and ‘stunning”. The visual impact caused reflection on the benefits of organ donation as contained in the feedback that follows.

 Feedback from clients or their customers

 “We have always been strong advocates of organ donation at Medway and wanted to commission a large piece of artwork to celebrate the selflessness of those who have donated organs and the courage of their families. We were fortunate to have the support of the Trust’s CEO and Chairman to redecorate our large atrium area within the hospital.

From initial concept design to final installation, we were extremely impressed with the professionalism of the team and the proof of the pudding has been the fantastic mural that we now have in our hospital atrium.

Feedback from visitors, patients, and staff has been overwhelmingly positive with many people commenting on its beauty whilst mentioning friends and family who have received organ transplants or who have donated organs. The artwork stimulates discussion about organ donation and hopefully this will continue to increase the number of visitors who join the organ donor register.

We intend to time our official unveiling of the artwork to coincide with national organ donation week in September and the Trust is now re-configuring the atrium area to benefit from a spacious seating area for visitors to enjoy the artwork.”

Dr Paul Hayden, Clinical Director for Critical Care & Clinical Lead for Organ Donation, Medway NHS Foundation Trust