Wellcome Trust

Wellcome Windows 2005

Doshi Levien were invited to create a series of three window installations to communicate the history and work of the Wellcome Trust to the general public. Each installation lasting four months is housed in two twelve metre windows on Euston Road. One window is transformed into a stage set, and the second contains supportive and provocative words and statements. The series is based on the idea of transferring knowledge through storytelling.

The Wellcome Trust are a global charitable foundation, both politically and financially independent. They support scientists and researchers, take on big problems, fuel imaginations, and spark debate.

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The first set in the series is a theatrical ‘Wellbeing centre’, featuring a curious doctor surrounded by his artifacts and equipment – a crystal studded doctor’s bag, a healing dress, amorphous hang-ups, the elixir of life, a stethoscope that can hear your soul and entices you to seek health through self reflection and questioning. The sets are hand painted and all the objects are custom made in India and the UK.

The second set in the series is ‘Café Wellcome’ where curiosity is encouraged. We used a combination of product and painting to communicate ideas about curiosity and the funding activities of the Wellcome Trust. For instance, the tabletops are spinning Zoetropes with animations inside and the “menu board” displays the projects funded by the Wellcome Trust along with amounts donated.

The third and final set in the series is ‘Sanger’s kitchen.’ This window makes reference to the Sanger institute in Cambridge. The Wellcome Trust Sanger Institute, founded in 1993, is one of the leading genomics centres in the world, dedicated to analyzing and understanding genomes.
Our set window is a kitchen come laboratory, referring to the work of the Sanger Institute and issues relating to the Human Genome. On the yellow tiled wall, there is a diagram of Mendel’s Law of dominance. Gregor Mendel is the father of genetics as his laws form the theoretical basis of our understanding of the genetics of inheritance. The cupboard contains some of our cookware designs for Tefal and is shown in relation to “Hap Map”, a multi-country effort to identify and catalog genetic similarities and differences in human beings. Above the pots, there are more bottles with labels depicting medicines such as Ayurvedic medicine, homeopathic medicine, Naturopathic medicine and Chinese medicine. These are alternative systems of medicine, developed independently of biomedicine. The photo on the wall is Sir Henry Wellcome, who established the Wellcome Trust in 1936.