A Million for Maggie’s: The thought behind ‘plant pot’ design of £5million cancer support centre set for Leeds

Maggie's Yorkshire. Picture by Heatherwick Studio.

Maggie's Yorkshire. Picture by Heatherwick Studio.

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An unusual cluster of handcrafted plant pots promises to take people accessing Maggie’s Yorkshire to a world outside of hospital.

The £5million support centre, designed by architects at the acclaimed Heatherwick Studio, aims to embrace the therapeutic effect of plants and contrast with the formal surroundings of Leeds St James’s Hospital.

Designers, from the studio of 2012 Olympic cauldron designer Thomas Heatherwick, were tasked with creating the ultimate escape from clinical wards and waiting rooms in a bid to bring the Maggie’s ethos to life in Leeds.

The building will take the form of a collection of stepped planters, each holding a piece of garden, while shared and private internal spaces will be playfully created between and within the planters.

Award-winning landscape designer Marie-Louise Agius, of Balston Agius, is also being drafted in to create serene plant-centred spaces at a complex that will feature a series of contained roof gardens.

Mat Cash, group leader at Heatherwick Studio, said: “The landscape around the building acts as a barrier and buffer, and through the design process became as important as the interior to the user experience of the centre.

“In and around the centre visitors will always be close to nature and the environment, protected from the traffic and the hospital outside.”

The kitchen table is the hub within every Maggie’s centre. It is a place to sit and read, talk to others, find support or simply have a cup of tea or coffee.

Maggie’s Yorkshire is no different, with the extensive gardens cocooning the centre from its surroundings and offering an escape in and around the plant pot design.

The architects emphasised that the space is meant to lift people’s spirits and make them feel encouraged and secure, giving visitors the ability to interact with others or equally to be able to retreat and be alone.

Maggie's Yorkshire. Picture by Heatherwick Studio.

Maggie's Yorkshire. Picture by Heatherwick Studio.

“The pots sit around a larger space that forms the heart of the building, and within each pot there is a smaller space for consultation or a little peace and quiet,” Mr Cash added.

“Assembled together, the pots create nooks and crannies that allow for moments of quiet and reflection, and larger spaces where visitors can meet and mingle with others using the centre – critical to Maggie’s approach to treatment and recovery.”

How to get involved

We are determined to raise A Million for Maggie’s – and here’s how you can help.

Assembled together, the pots create nooks and crannies that allow for moments of quiet and reflection, and larger spaces where visitors can meet and mingle.

Mat Cash, group leader at Heatherwick Studios

You could take on a personal challenge, organise bake offs, concerts, charity quizzes or other events while donating the proceeds to our appeal.

Your company could set up a corporate partnership with the appeal, donating employees’ skills or time, or matching employee fundraising.

All funds raised will help to turn Maggie’s Yorkshire at Leeds St James’s Hospital into a reality.

You can make a one-off gift of £5 or £10 to Maggie’s Yorkshire by texting MYEP99 £5 or MYEP99 £10 to 70070, or by sending a cheque payable to Maggie’s centres to, c/o Ben Feely, Maggie’s Centres, The Gatehouse, 10 Dumbarton Road, Glasgow, G11 6PA, with the reference: YEP A Million for Maggie’s.

For more click the ‘campaigns’ tab at yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk, visit maggiescentres.org/millionformaggies or follow @maggiesyorks on Twitter or see facebook.com/maggiesyorkshire.

If you have any exciting fundraisers planned, or would like any help or support, email ben.feely@maggiescentres.org.

Our campaign logo.

Our campaign logo.

Maggie's Yorkshire. Picture by Heatherwick Studio.

Maggie's Yorkshire. Picture by Heatherwick Studio.

Maggie's Yorkshire. Picture by Heatherwick Studio.

Maggie's Yorkshire. Picture by Heatherwick Studio.