Royal Free Charity & UCL Hoardings

Creating a buzz in Hampstead to help the Royal Free London NHS Foundation Trust promote the new Pears Building, specialising in ground-breaking medical research, whilst also educating and engaging with the local community

The brief

When complete, the Pears Building will be an industry-leading research centre bringing together leading scientists, academic clinicians and clinical trials specialists to develop revolutionary treatments and therapies for patients. 

Whilst under construction, they asked us to create large format graphics for the hoardings that covered the whole perimeter of the site. 

There was a real desire to engage with the local community about what was being constructed. It was equally important to communicate the vital role the building would play in research to provide better treatments for diseases such as cancer, diabetes, HIV and tuberculosis.

The creative idea

Rather than just being informative with the graphics, we wanted to create a spectacle – a talking point within the local community that had the element of surprise. At first glance, from a distance, the hoardings appear to be an attractive art installation full of colour and movement. 

As you approach the site, you realise that these artworks are actually graphic interpretations of the very serious diseases facing medical research that will be tackled here. We presented them in such a way that you are encouraged to stop and read the graphics, which provide insight into some of the diseases that are affecting all our lives.


Hoardings design
Production & installation

The hoardings are fun and energetic, comprising of pastel shades of pink, blue and purple, with colourful abstract shapes representing cells, chromosomes, viruses, antibodies and other scientific elements.
We wanted to effectively immerse people in the immune system so that they became lost in a cellular environment.

Hoardings Flat science section
Hoardings Image

We needed to be aware of any perceived scepticism surrounding genetics-based medical research, such as Dolly the Sheep, cloning and designer genetics where this research could potentially be perceived as negative. We highlighted how this work could be of huge benefit to society and how immunology has opened up a whole new arena where things that were previously untreatable are now treatable.

Hoardings Flat science section

We updated and repurposed the graphics from the hoardings that we designed and produced for the Royal Free Charity back in 2018 so that they could be used inside its amazing new building. A great example of sustainable design.

The hoardings were intentionally playful and didn’t focus too much on specific medicines or technology, but instead engaged with the public on an emotional level. We also wanted to get young people on board and hopefully inspire them to be the scientists and engineers of the future.

As an additional side project to the Pears Building hoardings in Hampstead, we were asked to think of a cost-effective way of displaying the work of a local Hampstead artist that would complement the main hoardings we had just completed. The artist in question was Oliver Yu Chan, a young man on the autistic spectrum, who had created a wonderful collection of paintings, illustrated from various viewpoints around Hampstead.

“We are absolutely delighted with the hoardings, which convey a wealth of information about the work that will go on in the new building in a way that everyone should find interesting. tothepoint were great to work with – creative, endlessly patient and efficient. We’d love to work with them again sometime.”

Philippa Hutchinson,
Communications Manager at the Pears Building