Harris Tweed leads Scotland’s first architecture and design celebration

A three-month festival celebrating Harris Tweed will be among more than 420 events taking place to celebrate Scotland's design and architecture. Picture: Robert Perry
A three-month festival celebrating Harris Tweed will be among more than 420 events taking place to celebrate Scotland's design and architecture. Picture: Robert Perry
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A CELEBRATION of Harris Tweed, a Renaissance fashion show in the Great Hall of Stirling Castle, a festival of light in the historic heart of Aberdeen city centre and an Expo at Edinburgh Airport will be part of Scotland’s first ever year of architecture and design.

A night-time art event to mark the rebirth of one of the country’s forgotten architectural masterpieces, the creation of flocks of origami-style birds for different parts of the country and a project which will see Scotland’s national orchestra help create a new sound and light installation for one of Edinburgh’s finest Georgian squares are all in the 12-month-programme.

More than 420 events are to be held the length and breadth of the country for the Scottish Government-backed Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, which follows celebrations of food and drink, the country’s wild landscapes and the cultural scene.

The £800,000 initiative - which will include a dedicated Festival of Architecture running from spring until autumn - aims to “shine the spotlight on some of Scotland’s greatest assets, icons and hidden gems.”

The three-month Clo Mor Festival of Harris Tweed, to be held across the Outer Hebrides, will feature showcases of designers and producers, demonstrations and talks, film screenings and guided tours of the rugged landscape.

The two-day fashion event at Stirling Castle, dubbed In Vogue and organised by Historic Scotland, will showcase Renaissance costumes, jewellery and textiles.

Glasgow-based environmental art organisation NVA, which is taking over the running of St Peter’s Seminary, widely regarded as one of Scotland’s great modernist masterpieces, will be staging its first public event at the vast site at Cardross, in Argyll.

Other landmarks set to be cast in a new light include Edinburgh’s St Andrew Square, where the Royal Scottish National Orchestra will be involved in a project celebrating connections between Scotland and Europe, Dumbarton Castle and some of the most important buildings on the Isle of Cumbrae, off the Ayrshire coast.

Aberdeen’s Festival of Light will involve a four-day spectacular which will transform an aea including Union Terrace Gardens, the Kirk of St Nicholas graveyard and Marischal College.

Dundee, wdesignated an official Unesco City of Design last December, will be staging Ignite, a month-long celebration of the city’s culture and creativity, while a “Fashion the Future” show will be part of the Orkney International Science Festival.

The programme of events, which is being coordinated by tourism agency VisitScotland, coincides with the unveiling of 10 new art, design, fashion, science and technology galleries at the National Museum of Scotland, which will host a two-day grand finale, including a late-night party.

Culture secretary Fiona Hyslop said: “The exciting programme for the Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design announced today will showcase Scotland’s greatest contemporary assets, innovative icons and hidden architectural gems, inspiring visitors and people from all over Scotland to get involved.

“These events - which take place in every corner of this country - will demonstrate our track record of excellence in innovation and design.”

Mike Cantlay, chairman of VisitScotland, said: “With this new themed year we have the opportunity to put Scotland on the map in a new and exciting way, catching the attention of visitors old and new, positioning Scotland as a mix of traditional and cutting-edge at the same time.

“Scotland is a nation of pioneers, home to ground-breaking scientists, philosophers, engineers and architects for hundreds of years.

“From the Forth Rail Bridge to Dolly the Sheep, the telephone to the television, Charles Rennie Mackintosh to Andy Scott, and Harris Tweed to the iconic Mackintosh raincoat, Scotland’s innovative past, present and future continue to inspire and influence audiences across the globe, shaping the modern world we live in today.

“The events planned are diverse, interesting and inspiring and we look forward to what we hope will be a ground-breaking year for tourism.”