South Bristol Community Hospital

Estelle Thompson, 'Untitled', 2012. Photo: Jamie Woodley. Image courtesy of the artist and Ginkgo Projects Ltd.


The £45 million South Bristol Community hospital opened on 30 March 2012 following over 50 years of campaigning by people. As part of the development of the building, public art consultants Ginkgo were appointed to develop a public art strategy for the building and to lead on the selection of artists to work on the scheme. The programme of commissions includes a series of interior artworks by Grennan & Sperandio, and an expansive colour work by painter Estelle Thompson.


Estelle Thompson was invited to work with both the hospitals interior and exterior spaces in the form of the hospitals exterior skin and interior floor-scape.

For the external element Thompson wanted to develop a work that would break down the modular nature of the buildings large scale architecture, be responsive to the architect’s colour palette and help to lead visitor towards the entrance. Her design uses a gradated greyscale to imply a directional build from white to dark grey. Greyscale images are composed exclusively of a shade of neutral grey, varying from black at the weakest intensity to white at the strongest. They are the result of measuring the intensity of light at each pixel in a single band of the electromagnetic spectrum.

Estelle’s work implies light and shadow travelling the length of the hospital building which is achived with the use of the building paint. The conceptual logic is to propose that this movement from light to dark wraps itself around the building along each façade; light at one corner of the building to dark and then dark to light etc. The choice of grey was developed with the architect. It works with the materials already present on the building such as the brick and the zinc of the roof.

The artist’s commission for the building interior deals with colour in its fundamental and purest form. For the design the artist has employed 11 key colours: pink, orange, grey, blue, yellow, white, green, brown, red, purple and black which are deployed through the buildings key public circulation routes by using the hospitals flooring.

The design emerges from the ground floor reception desk as a prism of 11 colours, each leading to corresponding departments; these 11 colours equate to the 11 areas of the hospital, with the artist using different colour designs for each area with shapes and forms extending along corridors and wards.

The work is one of the largest floor based works in Bristol and employs Estelle’s interest in colour and abstraction, placing them together on a grand scale. Estelle's commission also led to her being consulted as an advisor on the flooring colour for the areas of the hospital beyond the main public spaces covered within the scope of her commission.

Estelle Thompson

Estelle Thompson was born in 1960 in West Bromwich.  She studied at Sheffield City Polytechnic 1979–1982 and at the Royal College of Art, London 1983–1986.  She lives and works in London.

Estelle Thompson's paintings are demanding, both visually and imaginatively. Their rich imagery is made through what is to all intents and purposes the simplest of means. They nevertheless unfold into complex three-dimensional configurations. Rhythmically varied, they speak with intensity to the traditions of painting upon which they draw and to which, in turn, they contribute.

Estelle Thompson lives and works in London. She studied painting at the Royal College of Art has participated in numerous national and international exhibitions. Examples of her work are to be found in many public collections here and abroad including the Arts Council of Great Britain and the British Museum.

Ginkgo Projects

Ginkgo Projects is an independent consultancy offering art curation and commissioning services to a wide range of clients.

Our philosophy is driven by a desire to create unique opportunities for artists and designers. We aim to contribute fresh perspectives to built and natural environments that challenge assumptions about the spaces we inhabit.

Our clients include developers, local authorities, landscape and architectural practices and environmental and arts organisations. We create real opportunities for clients and artists to produce innovative work appropriate to the context, whether this is a new building or public space, work that is integrated into a space, stand-alone work or exhibition.

South Bristol Community Hospital

The £45 million South Bristol Community hospital opened on 30 March 2012 following over 50 years of campaigning by people for a local hospital. The hospital provides diagnostic tests and therapy services closer local residents and houses Bristol's first urgent care centre for minor illnesses and injuries, day surgery and a rehabilitation service where people are able to stay as inpatients. The services are provided in a purpose built, comprehensively equipped unit with full access to all facilities and services in the hospital, including physiotherapy, occupational therapy, dieticians, speech and language therapy, X-rays and scans and a brand new community dental service, offering free NHS treatment for local people, provided by the University of Bristol Dental Hospital.


  • Commissioner

    Bristol Infracare LIFT Ltd

  • Produced by

    Ginkgo Projects

  • Partners

    AWW Architets

  • Supported by

    Bristol Infracare LIFT Ltd