Rockets and polka dot horses

Dutch illustrator Stang Gubbels has brightened up the ward of an Amsterdam children’s hospital with some cheerful illustrations of UFOs, rockets and helicopters.

Dutch illustrator Stang Gubbels has brightened up the ward of an Amsterdam children’s hospital with some cheerful illustrations of UFOs, rockets and helicopters.

The transport-themed designs are aimed at four to 12 year-olds at the Emma Children’s Hospital – one of The Netherlands’s largest paediatric centres.


Gubbels worked on the project for two years while the ward, for long-term patients and those with serious illnesses, was being re-developed. Interior designers Opera Amsterdam Art Associates and architects OD205 have also re-designed and commissioned illustrations for other wards at the centre, including a neonatal care unit with sensory rooms and botanical paintings.

The printed illustrations are based on digital images created using Illustrator and covered with a protective layer. The colour palette was chosen by Opera, but Gubbels was free to design modes of transport of his chioce, from polka dot horses to unicycles, cranes and monster trucks.

“My agent [Art Associates] was asked to nominate an illustrator for the project by Opera Art. I was chosen because my work fits well with children – it’s bright and humorous” say Gubbels.

“I’ve made quite a lot of illustrations in this style – although never for interiors,” he adds. Gubbels has also designed exterior window installations in Rotterdam (photo: Scagliola/Brakkee / CBK Rotterdam).

UK hospitals have also teamed up with illustrators and design agencies to inject some colour into an unsettling place for young children – you can read our feature on The Royal London children’s unit (below) designed by Vital Arts in the April issue of Creative Review, and see Chelsea Children’s Hospital’s healing spaces here.

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The July issue of Creative Review is a type special, with features on the Hamilton Wood Type Museum, the new Whitney identity and the resurgence of type-only design. Plus the Logo Lounge Trend Report, how Ideas Foundation is encouraging diversity in advertising and more.

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