Press release

New window display at Wellcome shows the patterns of infectious disease

What role do patterns play in helping us to tackle outbreaks around the world?

Today, Wellcome unveils a striking window installation that demonstrates the importance of pattern recognition, research and design in tackling infectious diseases. The display was designed by creative studio PATTERNITY in collaboration with global charitable foundation Wellcome and will incorporate four windows of Wellcome’s headquarters at 215 Euston Road, London.

Infectious Pattern takes inspiration from the way infection spreads and translates this into pattern-like forms. Using bold graphic shapes and symbolism, the installation shows how modern living – greater urbanisation, international travel and denser population - has affected the behaviour of infectious disease. PATTERNITY has a strong track record of producing ambitious multidimensional projects with the power of patterns at their core.  

Through repetitive patterns inspired by the peculiar microscopic beauty of bacteria and viruses, each window tells part of the story of disease: from the genesis and spread of infection and the disruption caused to the body and society, to the power that Wellcome’s research has to combat it.

At the centre of the installation is an animation explaining how infectious diseases spread. It incorporates facts, pattern animation, case studies and photography from Wellcome archives to explore the history of disease and the progress made by Wellcome in stemming the spread of infection.

Every day, more than 5,000 people walk by the windows, making them the ideal platform for raising awareness of the threat of infectious disease. The installation encourages passers-by to consider how infectious diseases affect their lives, as well as their community and society as a whole.

Funding research into vaccines and drug-resistant infections are two examples of how Wellcome supports curious and passionate researchers from across the world, and works to drive real change.

Mike Turner, Head of Infection & Immunobiology at Wellcome, says: ‘As a global leader in biomedical research and policy, Wellcome is well placed to bring about the changes that are needed to tackle infectious diseases. This creative collaboration with PATTERNITY is a great way to show how diseases spread, and some of the ways we can fight them. I hope it will bring people passing by our windows closer to the heart of the research we fund, which is working to address some of the biggest threats to health worldwide.’

Grace Winteringham, co-founder of PATTERNITY, says ‘By working with patterns (in this case bold window graphics and moving images) we can visualise the unseen patterns of infectious diseases – how they spread both within the body and in society at large. We have taken our understanding of pattern, texture and shape and used it to translate complex factual information into a window display and experiential project that we hope will bring a lightness and playfulness that will inspire people to find out more.’

To extend the reach of the display, PATTERNITY is launching an accompanying online campaign that will disseminate #InfectiousPattern, using animations and imagery to bring the work of Wellcome to thousands of people via PATTERNITY’s web and social platforms.

Anna Murray, co-founder, of PATTERNITY, says ‘The window design, moving image and hands-on public events all help to support each other in communicating the story. We only have a few seconds to explain this area of Wellcome’s work as people walk past the window display, so other aspects of the campaign help people to dig beneath the surface and find out more. We love the idea of this project spreading virally, creating a pattern of awareness in all it reaches.’

Infectious Pattern has been created with Wellcome by PATTERNITY and will be on display in Wellcome’s windows at 215 Euston Road until mid-2018.