Dulux Trade has undertaken a historic project, breathing life into Alexandra Palace’s old BBC Transmitter Hall. The leading paint brand teamed up with the Alexandra Park Palace Charitable Trust and a range of industry partners to offer their expertise, skills and labour in the transformation of the space. As part of a £28 million renovation project to restore the Eastern part of the historic building used by the BBC as a TV transmitter facility, Dulux Trade took on the brief to design a space for vulnerable users. Each week the space is used for specialised programmes for hundreds of people including young adults with learning difficulties, musical workshops, mindfulness workshops in partnership with the NHS mental health support and a wellbeing cafe to support loneliness. Carefully selecting colour to enable those living with dementia to navigate their way around the old transmitter hall, the space has been created to make the now hundreds of users per week feel comfortable and at home, whilst offering an uplifting space for young adults with learning difficulties. The team applied the principles around healthcare colour scheme research to create a space that has a connection to the outside world - that was calming and inspiring. Earthy ‘Distant Haze’ greens and spiritual ‘Niagara Blues’ and lilacs were selected to produce a rich and verdant collection of shades - with the end user carefully considered. Points of difference were carefully managed between surfaces and space to make the rooms easier to navigate for people with visual impairment and dementia meeting the requirements of the Equality Act. The space was made to feel more intimate by artificially lowering the ceiling height through clever use of colour and design and the light and airy ‘Adobe Pink’ colour chosen, allowed for the perfect environment for the number of groups now using the Transmitter Hall. Colour blocks have been used behind the bar area, adding interest and eliminating the mirrors which can cause stress to people with dementia. Alexandra Palace is part of the Haringey Dementia Action Alliance (DAA) which aims to unite local organisations and improve the lives of people affected by dementia. There are over 1,600 people living with dementia in Haringey and programmes like these support people with dementia and their families to live and connect through the power of music. The new Transmitter Hall was a result of months of hard work by Dulux Trade and parent company AkzoNobel - taking 290 man hours - in conjunction with various other partners including Tarkett Flooring, Willmott Dixon, Speedy Hire, Southgrove Painting Contractors, Lucas Specialist Finishers, Horizontal Ltd and Winchmore. As well as working alongside partner firms, Dulux Trade enlisted the help of the AkzoNobel Research & Development teams to provide labour on the project and Dulux Decorator Centre in nearby Islington to provide workwear and materials to the AkzoNobel ‘Let’s Colour’ team. Dulux Trade has long since recognised the growing global health trend which will see over one million people in the UK diagnosed with dementia by 2025. Working on research led projects with healthcare specialists and the British Research Establishment, the brand has been able to gather evidence on how colour and design can transform spaces and therefore the lives of the people who use them. Using their research, the Dulux Trade Commercial Colour Services team designed an inclusive space within Alexandra Palace which uses the application of colour to enable occupants to more readily identify different areas of the entire space - for example the use of a colour contrast doorway or corridor, and colour, design and textures that discourage access to private areas within the space. In total over £3,000 worth of paint and decorating materials were donated to the project - which saw parts of Alexandra Palace renovated after many years bring the space back to life. Products used for the project included Dulux Trade Supermatt on the ceiling, Dulux Trade Diamond Matt on the walls and Dulux Trade Durable Flat Matt on the columns. Sarah Norton, project lead at AkzoNobel said: “This project has been a labour of love for Dulux Trade. To be involved in the restoration of a building with such historic value has been fantastic. We were able to put our knowledge and research regarding using colour to positively impact occupant wellbeing to good use, including aspects of design that are more considerate of vulnerable guests visiting the space. In this way, we’re pleased to have contributed to making the Transmitter Hall an inclusive, multi-functional space for many people in the local area.”
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