Salford Royal Hope building: a hospital that looks like a design hotel/art gallery

Salford Royal NHS foundation trust makes damaging fewer of its patients its priority (in other words, it aims to be safest trust in the NHS). But when visiting last week for the day job, I noted that ‘having a hospital that looks like a design hotel or art gallery’ had also been added to the to-do list.

Interviewing trust IT bosses for EHI Intelligence means visiting a lot of NHS hospitals. While special places in many ways, they tend to look functional rather than beautiful. As previously discussed, the new Queen Elizabeth Hospital in Birmingham is gleaming and full of light, like a really nice shopping mall. But while I knew Salford Royal was proud of its new Hope building – which was a construction site when I last visited two years ago (it opened in autumn 2011) – I wasn’t expecting it to be cool. Continue reading “Salford Royal Hope building: a hospital that looks like a design hotel/art gallery”

Art galleries in northern France: La Piscine Roubaix beats Louvre Lens

The north of France is a lot like the north of England. It’s a bit colder, metropolitan types think it has funny accents and food and it has suffered from a decline in industry, particularly mining. Lille should get itself twinned with Manchester – both cities have great histories and great ambitions for the future (and both are now major student and cultural centres). Continue reading “Art galleries in northern France: La Piscine Roubaix beats Louvre Lens”

Let me be your fantasy: virtual actors, Final Fantasy, Guinness squirrels and Eyes Wide Shut

This article, on the possibilities and problems with virtual actors, still holds good a decade later. It’s very difficult to produce realistic humans (and why bother when, as one of the Mill’s staff said, there are thousands outside the window) – they either have to be perfect, or they fall into the ‘uncanny valley’ of looking nearly, but not quite, right. Instead, virtual actors are either cartoon-like (the route taken by Pixar) or used to add digital extras in post-production.

I don’t suppose many more films have added naked figures to HELP a film get a lower certificate from US censors – as revealed in the box at the end on Stanley Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut (a section published in the paper but missing from the version available on the Guardian website).

Continue reading “Let me be your fantasy: virtual actors, Final Fantasy, Guinness squirrels and Eyes Wide Shut”