Following our success designing and producing glass sculptures and decorative wall panels for Newcastle based Royal Victoria Infirmary in 2011 and 2012, I was delighted once again to be invited by Sir Leonard Fenwick CBE to develop a concept for a large sculpture for the hospital's Ophthalmology Department, the Newcastle Eye Centre.
The Newcastle Eye Centre is one of the largest in the UK, treating and caring for over 100,000 patients each year. It is a regional centre of excellence treating all types of eye conditions in adults and children, both elective and emergency, as well as providing highly specialised and cutting-edge services.
Funded through the generous support of a local charitable trust, in August 2013 the 4.5 meter long sculpture was installed in the Eye Centre's primary reception area.
The sculpture is intended to reflect the role & expertise of the Centre, to reference individuality and the personal nature of each visitors treatment through the careful reproduction of a multitude of irises in different colours and patterns. Glass as a creative media was chosen due to its ability to transmit, refract and focus light in much the same way as the eye. The sculpture deliberately references eyes in a decorative way so as not to be overtly medical or intimidating.
The sculpture is composed of 175 individually hand made elements, bonded onto black anodised metal fittings echoing the eye's pupil and serving the dual function of wall anchor point. All the glass elements were made at the National Glass Centre, a part of the University of Sunderland, and were made at our furnaces by Kalki Mansell, one of our extremely talented Glass Studio Team.

RVI Wall Panels 2011 - Hospital Foyer
RVI Sculpture 2012 - NE Children's Hospital

The project was designed & project managed by Chris Blade MA (RCA) - Head of Enterprise, Commissioning and Glass Studio at the National Glass Centre, University of Sunderland.
Newcastle Eye Centre, Royal Victoria InfermaryOphthalmology Department waiting room at the RVI, NewcastleCompleted glass Iris sculpture in situPanoramic view of Iris sculpture in RVI waiting areaThe sculpture is inspired by the natural variety of patterns in irisesDetail of glass Iris sculptureDetail of glass Iris sculptureThe sculpture is inspired by the natural variety of patterns in irisesConstruction of glass elements at National Glass Centre. With Kalki MansellElements being constructedErin Barr and Kalki Mansell bonding turned aluminium fittings to glass at National Glass CentreInstallation at Royal Victoria Infirmary, NewcastleInstallation at Royal Victoria Infirmary, NewcastleChris Blade installing the last of the 175 elementsThe sculpture is 4.5meters longThe final sculpture with the installation teamThe flexibility of the design enables a 1.3x1.3m sculpture to be created tooGlass Iris sculpture in situArtist impressionArtist impression