Project Description

Disney & Great Ormond Street Hospital

Over the past 160 years, Great Ormond Street Hospital has had many firsts.

It was the first hospital in the UK offering dedicated inpatient care to children. It pioneered the first heart and lung bypass machine. And in 2001 it was the only centre in the world that was able to replace heart valves, without heart surgery.

So, as you can see it is a pretty amazing place.

As such, we were honoured when we were asked to help the hospital reach another milestone: its first outdoor play area for patients and their families.

When it came for the playground design, Great Ormond Street Hospital worked with Disney to create a ‘Reef’ theme. The equipment was to include famous Disney characters the patients would recognise, whilst the surfacing was to include multiple shades of blue to mimic the sea and a compass with the renowned Micky Mouse silhouette.

Over the course of the installation, our team hand drew and installed each graphic to ensure it followed the design put forward from Disney. You can get a glimpse into the install process with this time-lapse video.

Playground surfacing Disney Reef Great Ormond Street Hospital

One challenge the project faced was the location. Not only was the project in central London, it was also on the roof terrace of one of the existing hospital buildings. To ensure minimum disruption to patients in nearby wards, our operations team kept in constant contact with everyone involved even using specialist equipment to ensure the work was carried out as quietly and quickly as possible.

The play area was officially opened in June by team members from Great Ormond Street Hospital, The Walt Disney Company, and Tess Daly.

After the playground was opened to patients, Sue whose daughter is a regular inpatient said “I was struck by looking at all the children in the reef because for a short moment they could forget the traumas that many have to go through whilst at GOSH. All the faces were smiling, eyes forgetting the pain for that moment and enjoying seeing Mickey and all his friends,  the reef echoed with laughter and excitement – Magical. It is already a go-to place for all during their stay.   A place full of fantasy to take children and their families away from the traumas and the reality of life they are often facing.

 So to all the teams, thank you from a parent that saw it in reality for the first time yesterday but also saw the amazing effect it had.  I will leave the last word to Holly she told everyone yesterday it was ‘totally awesome’!”

Playground surfacing Disney Reef Great Ormond Street Hospital

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