Coloured Disks (Southmead Hospital)

Ally Wallace, Southmead Commission, 2014. Photo © Max McClure, courtesy of the artist and Willis Newson.


British artist Ally Wallace was commissioned to develop a new work for the Welled Courtyard within the new Southmead Hospital Bristol as part of the public art programme managed by Willis Newson. His work, ‘Coloured Discs’ is a bold and simple sculpture that introduces composition and colour into the planted landscape of a deep welled courtyard.


Ally Wallace’s sculpture comprises of nine coloured metal discs, mounted onto aluminium posts. The circular shapes contrast with the rectangular geometry of the building and organic area of planting and is designed to be viewed from a variety of areas within the surrounding buildings.

The development of Southmead Hospital Bristol integrated a major public art programme, featuring the work of nationally and internationally recognised artists.

The discs’ coloured surfaces are illuminated by ambient natural light and appear to change according to the viewer’s position and the nature of the light itself. Wallace’s work cleverly makes use of the viewers’ position above the sculpture and the green planting below it, transforming the space into a large spatial colour field work where the discs appear to hover above the green foliage below.

The public art programme for the new Southmead Hospital was led by arts consultants Willis Newson, commissioned by the developers of the site, Carillion. Underpinning the project was a close collaboration between North Bristol NHS Trust and its arts programme Fresh Arts, architects Building Design Partnership (BDP), the commissioned artists, Carillion & Willis Newson. Willis Newson also worked with Theresa Bergne of Field Art Projects.

Ally Wallace

Ally Wallace (b. 1960, Lanark, Scotland) studied painting at Sunderland Polytechnic (BA Hons, 1982-85) and site-specific sculpture at Wimbledon School of Art, London (MA, 1996-98). He has moved around the UK since 1985, living in Edinburgh, Brighton, London and rural Northumberland respectively, moving to Glasgow in 2003; each location has had a particular influence on his practice.

He has exhibited widely since the mid-1980s, a combination of public art projects and solo or group exhibitions. Public projects include Burghley House (sculpture park, 2001), Rufford Abbey, Newark (sculpture park, 2003), New Royal Aberdeen Children's Hospital (exterior, 2004), a solar-powered light piece for the Napier Building, Govan, Glasgow (exterior, 2005) and Kinning Park Complex, Glasgow (2006). He was the lead artist on the wayfinding strategy at the City General Hospital, Stoke on Trent (2005).

Group exhibitions include Northern Lights, Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (1996), Nothing But the Truth, Aspex Gallery, Portsmouth (2000), Jerwood Sculpture Prize, Jerwood Space, London (2003), Grid Ideas..., a two-person show with Doris Voetter, Intermedia, Glasgow (2005), Members' Show, Transmission Gallery, Glasgow (2005) and Available, Gallery Camelot, Krakow, Poland. Solo exhibition venues include the Islington Arts Factory, London (1997), The Changing Room, Stirling (1999), International 3, Manchester (2000), Space Banana, Birmingham (2001), Waygood Gallery, Newcastle-upon-Tyne (2002), the Pierce Institute, Glasgow (2003), Market Gallery, Glasgow (2004), the Project Room, Glasgow (2005) and the Glasgow Sculpture Studios Gallery, Glasgow (2006).

Ally Wallace lives and works in Glasgow.

Southmead Hospital Bristol

Southmead Hospital Bristol is a £430m new hospital for Bristol developed by the NHS Trust and PFI developers Carillion. The hospital is an 800 bed acute hospital built on the existing Southmead site.

The public arts programme led by Willis Newson was part of the PFI initiative and built on research which clearly demonstrates the direct benefits for patients of incorporating visual and performing arts into the hospital environment.

Willis Newson

Willis Newson is a leading Bristol-based independent arts consultancy specialising in creative approaches to improving health and wellbeing.  It develops & delivers public art strategies for new builds and refurbishments,  manages public engagement programmes, offers an affordable design service for healthcare and provides advice and guidance on using art & design to create healthy environments.

Willis Newson was established in 2001 and has since carried out over 200 projects for more than 31 NHS Trusts, as well as working on projects for private healthcare clients, contractors and architects.

  • Commissioner

    North Bristol NHS Foundation Trust

  • Produced by

    Willis Newson

  • Partners

    Carillion; BDP; Field Art Projects

  • Supported by

    North Bristol NHS Foundation Trust, Carillion