Sic Cities Tee Off

By The Drum | Administrator

March 22, 2007 | 5 min read

As the first Six Cities Design Festival draws ever closer, its publicity machine has crunched into gear. The six Scottish cities of Aberdeen, Dundee, Edinburgh, Glasgow, Inverness and Stirling will host the country’s first nationwide international design festival from 17 May to 3 June, promoting and celebrating Scottish design. An imaginative programme of exhibitions, events, keynote speakers, talks, tours and much more will take place all over Scotland, alongside two major continuing programmes – Design Into Business and Learning.

The festival has signed up a clutch of renowned designers – including Wayne Hemingway, Peter Saville, Stefan Sagmeister, Timorous Beasties and Zandra Rhodes – for a range of events, and these design luminaries will also be creating T-shirts for a limited edition Six Cities set.

The T-shirt project also sees the festival teaming up with to give less famous designers the opportunity to rub shoulders with these design gurus. The new names are competing to design the final T-shirt in the Six Cities range, which will give them the chance to show off their creations to an international audience. A number of Scottish designers have taken part in the project, and now it is up to the public to vote for their favourite designs.

The Drum has secured a sneak preview of some of the work created by the hopefuls. However, the Teetonic website will host all the work for two weeks, allowing peers to view the work and cast their judgements. The closing date for voting is 2 April.

In addition to the festival’s collaboration with Teetonic, The Lighthouse, Scotland’s national architecture and design centre, has unveiled details of six international exhibitions to be staged across the country between April and August as part of the festival.

Groundbreaking Scottish duo Timorous Beasties, celebrated for designs which subvert traditional patterns, are to co-curate a special exhibition with Dundee Contemporary Arts (DCA). Peacocks Among The Ruins will look at nature in interior design, from the toiles de Jouy of pre-revolutionary France to the company’s own controversial Glasgow toile.

In Inverness, the festival will work with the Museum of Finnish Architecture on New, Old, Green, an exhibition hosting proposals for sustainable housing commissioned by the Highland Housing Fair.

Extreme North, a Norsk Form exhibition focusing on design for extreme climates, gets its UK premiere at Aberdeen Art Gallery, while the festival has secured UK showings for no fewer than three international exhibitions from the acclaimed Vitra Design Museum.

Nick Barley, director of The Lighthouse and the festival, believes Six Cities will have a far-reaching impact on Scotland. “Design impacts on every area of contemporary life,” he says. “The international exhibition programme for Six Cities will throw a spotlight on many of these, revealing the innovative and creative solutions designers have brought to areas as diverse as housing and travel, fashion and interiors, games and graphics.”

Following the success of The Scottish Show (2004/5) in Milan, London and Glasgow, The Lighthouse is set to create a significantly expanded platform for Scottish design – The Scottish Show 07 – as a centrepiece of the Six Cities festival.

“The Scottish Show 2007 is a major platform for designers to showcase their work within the context of Scotland’s first nationwide design festival,” says Leonie Bell, programme director of The Lighthouse. “We want to celebrate the diversity and quality of the nation’s creative industries, and through the show, raise the profile of Scottish talent both with the commercial sector and the general public.”

Of the 13 designers featured in the original Scottish Show, nine are back, showing new work. As England prepares to introduce a smoking ban, NORD will use The Scottish Show as a platform to launch a range of innovative external “shelters”, developed in light of the Scottish smoking ban. One Foot Taller is set to launch a new range of lights, while the giant Bloom Mobile by Edinburgh’s eco-friendly design and furniture store Blue Marmalade will be hung in The Lighthouse foyer during the exhibition. Meanwhile, Timorous Beasties will launch a further five toiles in a limited edition set of six mugs, one for each of Scotland’s six cities.

Twenty-five new designers will also feature in The Scottish Show 07, including some of Scotland’s most established companies such as Graven Images, ISO and Olanic.

Elsewhere, six leading designers have been commissioned to create billboard designs to be shown in major railways stations. Graphic designers at After The News will be adding their own brand of witty socio-economic commentary to Glasgow’s Central Station, while the team at O Street will bring their sharp sense of humour to Inverness.

Nigel Peake will be creating the billboard for Aberdeen, while in Edinburgh’s Waverley Station a billboard will be given the Timorous Beasties treatment.

In Stirling, the billboard will show work by Annabel Wright, an illustrator whose work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Guardian and The Observer, among others. And if you’re travelling through to Dundee, you’ll come across a design by winner of the Becks Photography Prize 2001, Lucy MacLeod.


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