Altro brings colour, design flair and enhanced protection to pioneering London Trust

A range of Altro flooring and wall cladding is being used at Whittington Health in north London, to help create a more relaxing, visually-appealing space in two new facilities, and provide enhanced protection in the Emergency Department (ED).

Whittington Health provides general hospital and community services to 500,000 people living in north London. Eighteen months ago, the Trust opened two new facilities: a pioneering £3m Ambulatory Care Centre, which offers patients of all ages greater opportunity to have same-day emergency treatment; and a Rapid Assessment Unit, which is helping to improve triage for the ED.

Both of these new projects feature Altro safety flooring and hygienic wall cladding, which was used to create a contemporary, colourful and more relaxing space for patients, while also providing the highest levels of safety, hygiene and reliability.

Architect Levitt Bernstein was tasked with designing the new facilities. Project architect Ben Monteagle explains Whittington Health’s vision for these new spaces, and how he brought it to life with a striking, yet practical solution; Ben said:

“The aim for the Ambulatory Care Centre was to create a space that didn’t look clinical or institutional. The Trust wanted patient wellbeing to be a key factor, using a design that flowed, that was relaxing, colourful, visually appealing, full of light and with large open spaces where patients could relax and feel at home. In essence, a contemporary area that didn’t look like a hospital.

“Our realisation of that vision was to use colours in very creative ways through wall artwork depicting local scenery, such as Hampstead Heath, woodland and ponds.

“We were delighted when Altro suggested we use their Altro Whiterock Digiclad wall cladding for the artwork as this was a cost-effective way to integrate artworks within a clinical environment. Altro Whiterock Digiclad is robust and easy to maintain, and it absolutely met our aim to integrate practical with aesthetics. It the ideal medium for artwork in a clinical setting, and gave us a lot of scope for design.”

Altro Whiterock Digiclad offers the option of digitally printed design on wall surfaces, creating impactful and creative graphics. This is achieved by reproducing a photographic image or Vector Art over a whole wall.

Using 2.5mm thick Altro Whiterock as its medium, the hard-coat technology of Altro Whiterock Digiclad has scratch resistant properties for added surface protection. This makes it ideal for environments where durability is paramount.

Ben Monteagle continues:

“We also developed a way-finding strategy, to help patient navigation, which uses coloured leaves embedded into the flooring. The flooring itself needed to be very practical, with excellent slip resistance, and a neutral base which would act as a good backdrop for the colourful design within the centre.”

They chose Altro Suprema safety flooring, a non-sparkle safety flooring that gives complete design freedom and which is already used elsewhere in the hospital. From subtle grey to vivid orange, the range’s 40 shades can match any mood.

Design-led Altro Suprema has been developed in consultation with colour consultants, architects and end users to reflect design requirements and interior trends. Ideal for large public spaces, Altro Suprema has Altro Easyclean Maxis PUR Technology for ease of cleaning, making it possible for designers to specify light colours in areas they previously would not have dared to.

Main contractor, Overbury, appointed Jemic, an Altro Whiterock Premier Installer to install the Altro Whiterock Digiclad. Jemic MD Matt Robinson says: “This project was a complex one for several reasons. There were a lot of different contractors on site at the same time, which meant co-operation and working closely together was essential for smooth running and completion on time.

“In addition, the design of the build evolved over time. This showed just how easy and flexible Altro Whiterock Digiclad is to work with. The product is prepared off-site, but we were still able to make alternations when we arrived, to fit in with new designs, with some additional finishing and cutting.”

The Altro Suprema flooring was installed by Loughton Contracts, which has more than 30 years’ experience installing Altro products. Loughton Senior Project Manager, John Doak, says:

“We were on site about four weeks, and it was a busy environment, with a number of other contractors working in the same space. This meant co-operation was key, and we had to divide the floor into three separate areas to accommodate everyone and ensure the project ran to schedule.

“Altro Suprema is a product we install on a regular basis and it’s great to work with. We fitted three shades of grey; Cotton (410m2), Moon (170m2), and Platinum (280m2).”

Overbury Project Manager, Geoff Charlett, says:

“We were very pleased with the quality of the Altro flooring and wall cladding installations — both Jemic and Loughton did a highly professional job. We recently completed flooring assessments 12 months after fitting, and it looks as good now as when it was installed.”

The Trust’s Assistant Director of Estates, Mike Veale, comments:

“The Altro Whiterock Digiclad looks immaculate and everyone comments on it. It’s such an eye-catching and original feature and a great way to bring artwork into a space.

“Eighteen months on it still looks as good as new, even the mouldings and curved sections, so the installer did a superb job. It’s so popular that I’m recommending it for other parts of the hospital. Altro Whiterock Digiclad has certainly helped us to achieve the relaxing, non- clinical feel we were aiming for.

“The Altro Suprema flooring has also been a real success. We wanted three shades of grey to define key areas in the unit, and this has worked very well.

“We use Altro Suprema throughout the hospital because it performs from as aesthetic point of view, while also ticking all our boxes for hygiene and practicality. Cleaning is easy, too, and it still looks as good as it did 18 months ago. I am a big fan of this product.”

The Trust’s new Rapid Assessment Unit had a similar design brief, and architect Ben Monteagle again specified bold colours to create a contemporary feel.

“We used a combination of different types of Altro Whiterock wall cladding to create striking effects and feature walls in a blue and green theme. Again, we had a tight budget, and this proved a very cost-effective choice of products.

“Each room in the unit has a feature wall, which we created using a combination of Altro Whiterock Chameleon wall cladding in a striking acid green, and Altro Whiterock Satins in a dark and pale blue. We specified white Altro Whiterock White™ for the other three walls in each room.

“The Altro Whiterock range offers superb flexibility and scope for design, even in clinical areas where hygiene is paramount, and the different Altro Whiterock ranges complement each other perfectly. The colour palettes are very exciting, and the seamless, solid sheet means they are easy to clean and very robust too.”

Altro Whiterock wall cladding is a cost-effective, durable, grout-free, water-tight smooth wall cladding system designed for building environments that are required to meet strict hygiene standards. The panels provide a stain resistant, wipe-clean surface with no gaps or cracks for bacteria to hide in. It is extremely impact resistant and ideal for tough areas. It also meets current EU Directives on health and hygiene.

Altro Whiterock Chameleon offers vibrant solid colours, or more natural tones, in a high gloss finish, allowing for bold designs or more muted interiors in a variety of customer-facing environments.

Altro Whiterock Satins offers a palette of 26 satin shades — from brights and bolds for high impact, to neutral for an understated look.

Ben Monteagle adds:

“We chose Altro Suprema again for the floors in the Rapid Assessment Unit, for the same reasons — great colour choice and proven reliability and practicality.”

Whittington Health Assistant Director of Estates, Mike Veale, says:

“Our vision for the Rapid Assessment Unit was for a modern, homely space, full of colour, that could be both relaxing and stimulating visually.

“The Altro Whiterock has certainly helped us to achieve all this, and it’s been used to create some very exciting designs. I particularly like the gloss Altro Whiterock Chameleon, it adds another dimension. The vivid colours are superb, and it’s still as shiny as the day it was installed. Used together with the Altro Whiterock Satins and Altro Whiterock White, it’s very effective. The acid green Altro Whiterock Chameleon is my favourite — it really pops.

“Initially, we made the mistake of painting one of the rooms, but we realised later that Altro wall cladding would look much better, so we went back and installed it. That was a good decision.

“Altro is certainly our product range of choice — it meets all our needs both clinically and visually. We are keen to create an environment in which patients feel cared for, safe, relaxed and happy. Altro’s flooring and walling gives us the flexibility to be creative, while also meeting stringent clinical criteria. We will continue to use Altro throughout the hospital.”

The Trust is also using Altro’s brand new tough walling system – Altro Fortis Titanium – throughout the Emergency Department, to solve the problem of damaged walls.

Altro Fortis Titanium is constructed from highly durable uPVC semi-rigid sheet, which is dense, impervious material, resistant to bumps. It features a lightly textured surface, which camouflages scuffs, keeping the wall area looking better for longer.

Available in ten colours, including muted and vibrant shades, Altro Fortis Titanium matches many of the popular shades from the Altro Whiterock Satins hygienic wall cladding range. This offers flexibility when it comes to design, making it a versatile solution across a range of areas. Plus the colour runs throughout, reducing the visibility of knocks or scrapes.

With an impervious, easy-to-wipe surface, Altro Fortis Titanium improves cleanability which is a major advantage within its recommended application areas.

Whittington Health Estates Officer, Jerry Burrell, says:

“Altro Fortis Titanium was a great choice for us. The product is very resistant to scrapes and bumps and doesn’t show any marks. It looks good too, so it’s more than just functional. For these high traffic, general areas, Altro Fortis is proving the ideal wall covering.”