Puzzle-like mural for a new mother and child hospital in Johannesburg

Lorenzo Nassimbeni has been working with 26'10 SOUTH Architects to create a geometric tiled mural on the new Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital.

Architect-turned-artist Lorenzo Nassimbeni has created a tiled mural for the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital in Johannesburg. The building itself was designed by 26’10 SOUTH Architects and is nearly complete.

Professor Ashraf Coovadia who runs the Rahima Moosa Mother and Child Hospital, which focuses on mother-to-child disease transmission and research on how to limit it, has become a world leader in his field. He managed to reach this status in spite of the lack of resources and space he was allocated.

Professor Coovadia has been working since 2009 to secure funding for his research project and even before the new building was in construction, Professor Ashraf Coovadia has managed to reduce the incidence of mother-to-child transmission of diseases like HIV and Tuberculosis in South Africa from 27 per cent to 2.5 per cent.

Now, within these new, upgraded facilities, Professor Coovadia will continue his work.

The mural itself is a response to the location, and symbolises a map of the area in Johannesburg in which it sits. The black tiles, in a mixture of matt and shiny, represent the lines of the landscape translated from an ink drawing. The gold tiles represent the gold mines of Johannesburg and the material that lies in the ground there.

“Due to the fact that the gold reserves in Johannesburg are largely depleted, or too deep to access, the colours of the shiny tiles were selected to not only reflect the tones of the landscape as it is realistically viewed, but to simulate the aesthetic effect of 'Fools Gold’,” says Nassimbeni.

The architects at 26’10 SOUTH also strive to create work that is sensitive to the environment, and in this way the mural and the building are in harmony.

Nassimbeni also hopes that the geometric shapes will be seen as puzzle-like by the children who have to visit the wing, and that the reflections of light and the sense of movement will give them some delight in an otherwise frightening ordeal.

The architects at 26’10 SOUTH also strive to create work that is sensitive to the environment, and in this way the mural and the building are in harmony.

Nassimbeni acknowledges the help and support of his team: Anne Graupner, Thorsten Deckler and Paul Gregory Devenish of‪ ‎26’10 SOUTH Architects; Ashley Heron for facilitating the tiling project management, and to Mayo José Sithole and ‪‎Team Patrau for their craftsmanship in tiling application. 

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