We commissioned some of Scotland’s most interesting and successful designers to create exclusive products for Local Heroes 2016. Their work collectively represents a striking period of contemporary design in Scotland characterised by a renewed confidence and optimism. Local Heroes leaves behind stereotypes about the Scottish design aesthetic and emphasises the modern approach of contemporary designers who embrace bright colour, dynamic pattern and innovative techniques and materials.
Glasgow based designer, Gabriella Marcella, founder and director of RISOTTO, was commissioned to design and produce a set of tropical beach towels. Each is intended to be a vibrant poolside companion: there are three exclusive designs to choose from that will add a distinctive touch to your beach presence.
Glasgow based designer Rebecca Torres was commissioned by Local Heroes to create a unique souvenir that celebrated design and travel. Her limited-edition one shoulder swimsuit is titled Axis. The upper section features intersecting brightly coloured triangles overlaid onto cornflower blue fabric while the lower section is a vivid solid yellow, the swimsuit is finished with a side panel of black mesh.
For Local Heroes, Trakke designed and produced the Fingal and Assynt 12 – two new backpacks in bright blue waxed cotton fabric. Based in Glasgow, Trakke is known for designing equipment that is durable, versatile and uses time-tested materials and components to create bags that thrive out in the wild – equipment that blurs the line between kit and companion.
Instrmnt, a design studio founded by Pete Sunderland and Ross Baynham, present a special edition of their minimalist watch presented in bespoke risograph packaging. Inspired by the way our belongings are often reassembled while in transit, Instrmnt collaborated with RISOTTO studio to imagine the contents of their Instrmnt 01-D through the eyes of the airport x-ray machine.
Local Heroes commissioned textile designer and maker Laura Spring to design a travel themed product that would highlight her trademark love for colour, print, pattern and process. The result is the Arrow Travel Pouch, a screen printed cotton cosmetics bag with a hand-stamped leather zip puller and waterproof lining.
Inspired by the colours of summer, Totem 006 by Tom Pigeon is an exclusive neckpiece designed for Local Heroes. Tomato red resin sits beside bright brass and clean white marble Corian; crisp glass-effect acrylic and mint cotton cord – a playful combination of textures, materials, and shapes.
For Local Heroes, Hilary Grant have designed a lambswool travel blanket inspired by rhythm, mirroring and colour theory and the knitting traditions of Scotland and its neighbouring Nordic countries. The blankets are intended to help travellers stay warm during flights, boat crossings and other adventures.
For Local Heroes, Karen Mabon has designed an umbrella and sunshade illustrated with distinctive hand-drawn dancers on each panel which employs a summery, sorbet inspired colour palette. The slim, classic umbrella is a completely new product for Karen, who is known around the world primarily for her silk and cashmere scarves.
A new movement in Scottish design
Scotland is becoming increasingly renowned for its contribution to international design and while tradition and heritage remain a focal point in the popular imagination – diversity, pluralism and connectedness to global networks are influencing a whole generation of designers. For Scotland’s Year of Innovation Architecture and Design, we asked some of the country’s leading designers to reimagine the souvenir and produce a unique travel-themed design object. The resulting collection celebrated a new movement in Scottish design that embraces colour, pattern, and the use of innovative techniques and materials. The exhibition presented design that communicates confidence and intellectual rigour and is polished, professional and accessible.
Dr Stacey Hunter is a design curator and creative producer whose work connects design thinking and practice to the everyday life of cities. Dr Hunter trained as a designer at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design (Dundee), and received a Ph.D. in Architecture from the University of Edinburgh in 2015.
With the inaugural exhibition of Local Heroes in 2016, Hunter initiated a major public exhibition of newly commissioned Scottish design. Located at Edinburgh Airport and a key part of Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, Local Heroes presented contemporary design to a global audience spanning 120 different locations and three continents.
“For many visitors Local Heroes was a first impression of Scotland, or part of a fond farewell. Design is one of the most accessible expressions of 21st century creativity and the unique location of Edinburgh Airport offered the opportunity to present a snapshot of Scotland’s colourful and confident design scene to a diverse public audience.”
Local Heroes acknowledges the important role design exhibitions have played in supporting design businesses in the past, in particular the Enterprise Scotland Exhibition, Edinburgh, 1947 and Scotland Can Make It! Glasgow, 2014. The aim of Local Heroes is to continue to put Scotland on an international stage, presenting and promoting Scottish products and industries to the public, with a focus on high quality design.
Local Heroes is an independent project led by Dr Stacey Hunter in partnership with Edinburgh Airport, Creative Edinburgh and Creative Dundee, and generously funded by EventScotland and Creative Scotland as part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.
The Local Heroes 2016 events programme has been developed collaboratively with Creative Edinburgh and Creative Dundee. Both organisations provide a platform for exchange between the public and the creative, tech, and wider business communities.