Immersive art installation opens at Guy’s Hospital to celebrate NHS vaccine success and the UK’s emergence from lockdown


As the UK today begins to emerge from lockdown, more than 1 in 2 (54%) Brits have said they’re feeling more optimistic that the nation is heading back towards normal life now than at any point since the pandemic began 12 months ago, according to new research.

Hyundai, the leading car manufacturer, has surveyed over 2,000 Brits and found that half (47%) are confident we are over the worst of the coronavirus pandemic and that circumstances are only set to get better. Indeed, the majority (55%) are optimistic that the UK will stick to the government’s roadmap outlined by Boris Johnson two weeks ago, which will see all legal limits on social contact lifted on Monday 21st June.

Only a third of Brits think that restrictions could be imposed again once they’ve been lifted (37%) or that there will be another national lockdown (37%). This follows a difficult winter, with 9 out of 10 revealing that sunlight is important to their physical (87%) and mental (89%) wellbeing and they suffered as a result of the social restrictions during the dark winter months.

Hyundai has today launched the world’s first ever ‘Tunnel of Light’, which is designed to recreate the brightness of the sun for visitors to enjoy and has been installed as a beacon of optimism for some of those most affected by the pandemic.

The first-of-its-kind Tunnel of Light was created by world renowned light artists Squidsoup and has been gifted to Guy’s Hospital in London, where NHS staff and patients can bask in the glow of the immersive light installation between Monday 8th March and Sunday 4th April.

The 9-metre-long structure is stacked with 160 light boxes covering a staggering 25m², which are designed to emulate the sun’s rays. The installation features a vast array of collimated light sources that produces the illusion and perspective of a new sun, millions of miles away in a cloudless sky.

Those who enter the Hyundai Tunnel of Light, which took two months and required over 50 employees to build, will leave the experience feeling invigorated and refreshed as Guy’s and St Thomas’ celebrate officially hitting the milestone of administering 100,000 vaccinations.

Paul Crawford, Professor at the Institute of Mental Health and author of Cabin Fever: Surviving Lockdown in the Coronavirus Pandemic, said: “Sunlight boosts our mental health by increasing serotonin and Vitamin D, improving our sleep and mood. It literally gives us a sunny disposition—something we all need just now! In a hospital so connected with Florence Nightingale, this project brings a new kind of lamp to its staff, patients and visitors. It offers a powerful symbol of hope and recovery after what has been a challenging year for many.”

Brits have taken the opportunity to find some positives from life during the coronavirus pandemic, with 38% learning to appreciate a slower pace of life and 14% reconnecting with old friends. Meanwhile, 14% say they have been able to focus on their physical and mental without so many distractions, and 1 in 5 (20%) have liked the chance to work from home.

Though two-thirds (64%) of Brits confess it will take them time to adjust to normal life again, there is an overwhelming sense of excitement about lockdown restrictions coming to an end. 1 in 4 (26%) plans to adopt a more positive mindset following the pandemic, with half (46%) determined they will no longer take the little things for granted and a fifth (21%) looking forward to taking more opportunities to step out of their comfort zone.

Alastair Gourlay, Director of Estates at Guy’s and St Thomas’, said: “We are always looking for ways to improve the wellbeing of our patients and staff so are thrilled to be hosting such an innovative art installation. The Hyundai Tunnel of Light will bring a much-needed morale boost to some of those who deserve it most. It represents a welcome ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ for Guy’s and St Thomas’ which, like others in the NHS, has been working so incredibly hard to keep patients and staff safe and well during the pandemic.”