Oases of design action

The Old Town of Edinburgh is full of interesting pockets of space. It is refreshing to currently walk around these spaces and discover what people are doing. In what have been stuffy old spaces, citizens are proving that the Old Town is still a place for its residents and that they are creatively alive and kicking. A project I am currently designing, the 12 Closes, is one of a number of projects working to remind people that the Old Town is open beyond the Royal Mile and its residents want to ‘own it’, show it and share it with pride. As such I was recently invited by a resident group, to take part in the judging and appointment of an art and design team to transform a hugely un-inspirational corridor – Pirries Close. The winning scheme will turn the close into a wonderland of pattern and structure derived through resident workshops.

Currently, if you take a stroll up Carrubbers Close and down Chalmers Close you will find yourself surrounded by the art installations of Open Close which are making use of sound, structures, graphic applications, reflective surfaces and new street furniture to make new propositions. In Chessel’s Court, you can see a new installation exploring the space in which art and architecture become one (part of Edinburgh Art Festival). And soon, we will be starting to install the first 3 of the 12 Closes – Stevenlaw’s Close, Carrubbers Close and Chessels Court. I’ll keep you informed.

With these wonderful and modern interventions, Edinburgh is saying ‘hello world’ the Old Town is alive and the people who live there are ready, willing and able to make the ‘old girl’ feel new, vibrant, rebellious and fresh. Maybe at long last Edinburgh is starting to find its local voice and is ready to take Glasgow on as a place in which to be cool and see cool.

If you find something else out there please share it with us all.

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