Seeking Notes of Interest from Designers

Hospitalfield have put to tender a Design Brief requesting notes of interest from designers for key elements of new graphic design around the Future Plan for the Garden & Garden Buildings.

Deadline for notes of interest is Friday 4 September 2020

Notes of interest should be emailed to

Design Brief August 2020 – updated

Further information on the Future Plan

Hospitalfield is undergoing a major five year capital development. At the heart of the project is the re-design of the walled garden by the renowned horticulturalist Nigel Dunnett. Our architects, Caruso St John have overseen the restoration of the 19th century fernery and designed the new glazed roof structure and glass house café that will be located on the south wall of the garden where once there were hot walls heating the glass houses. We are working with the Royal Botanical Gardens Edinburgh to source and plant the new fern collection. This collection will describe the 19th century passion for ferns. The first few years of the garden will see the establishment of a horticultural scheme that unusually combines a very high commitment to sustainability and environmental horticulture with cutting-edge naturalistic planting, all set within a formal setting and framework. The formality tells a story of 800 years of gardening, the time that this land has acted as the garden to the various dwellings that have been on the site over this time.

The focus of the timescale for the project is the April 2021 as we open The Garden and Garden Buildings, the café and fernery to the public ‘full time’. This will be the first time that we have been consistently open to the public whilst also running the more intimate and necessarily quiet study programmes using the house and other parts of the grounds. Getting the balance right will be of great importance. The visitor experience on a day when there isn’t another event on will be to use the café, then buy a ticket to visit the very special garden and restored fernery, they can then stroll around the paddock. There will not be automatic access to the house unless at a time when there is an organised tour. Otherwise audiences will come for events and activities that are specifically programmed.

We are now at the right time in this process to appoint a designer who will work with us to create a clear, intelligent design that has a light touch at this important moment as we evolve the organisation’s public facing strategy. We need a solution to signage, way finding and the design of ticketing and printed information that focuses on the opening of the Garden and Garden Buildings. Managing expectation is essential given the multi-uses of the site.

Hospitalfield has been open to the public for several years this has been quite adhoc. Whilst there is a charm to this that we do not want to lose, we need to be sure that we are clearly communicating to visitors how to navigate the site and, in general, established a relationship with our visitors that makes them feel warmly greeted and confident that they are visiting a professionally run and fascinating place. We want all our visitors to leave having had a great experience and with the right level of information that will encourage them to return again and again. We want to move people around the site without bossy signs as for some this is their home whilst for others they are visiting, both must feel as though they are part of the place whilst they are here. This remains a private house and estate and not a corporate public sector facility.