Space Invader, Jim Isermann
Jim Isermann’s permanent commission for the Pathology Phase Two building for Southmead Hospital is an integrated artwork that transforms the fabric and surfaces of the functional architecture of corridors and external light-wells into a canvas for a bold abstract composition of repeating geometric forms.
Space Invader focuses exclusively on the areas of the building dedicated to the Pathology staff’s breaks from work and their journey to this area at basement level: the staff rest room itself, the adjoining exterior breakout space in the basement level light-well, and the consulting room corridor that leads to the staff restroom. The distinction between art and design is eroded by Isermann’s repeating patterns that create a vibrant and unexpected intervention that firmly demarcates these spaces as separate and distinct from the working areas of the Pathology building.
The commission uses a repeating parallelogram pattern across exterior paving, internal flooring and interior walls that mutates through different colour palettes across different surfaces and locations to tie these social areas together in the minds of the building’s users. Isermann’s bespoke designs for the paving, cast concrete benches and planters in the breakout space, and his attention to detail through specifically selecting furniture by renowned twentieth century designers Charles and Ray Eames to furnish the staff rest room, elevate the staff rest areas of the pathology building above standard contract interiors to create a truly special environment for the Pathology unit, which in turn implicitly describes the value of the work undertaken by the North Bristol NHS Trust staff.