Making it in Scotland

Scotland Can Make It! is not an exhibition of finished products, but a marker on the journey towards the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games. Developed by design curators Panel, the project has brought together designers, makers and manufacturers with the brief to produce a Scottish souvenir that can be sold during the Games.

The exhibition showcases these collaboration’s products before they begin the process of mass manufacture for 2014. All make reference to the social or sporting history of Scotland and specifically Glasgow, making the exhibition’s location in the People’s Palace and Winter Gardens especially relevant. The display cases have been designed by Graphical House and resemble old-fashioned shop-front windows.

Golden Tenement by Neil McGuire and Marianne Anderson with Carlton Casting Photo Gordon Burniston

Though given the same brief, the partnerships of designer/manufacturer have each developed unique and forward-thinking products. Many are designed for mass production. This is the case of Claire Duffy’s Tunnock’s Medals, a very affordable set of three Tunnock’s Tea Cakes with corresponding medals. The same is the case for Neil McGuire and Marianne Anderson’s Golden Tenement: it is hoped that the sale of gold-effect aluminium models of Glasgow tenement 10 Ardenlea Street will fund a single gold model. Others are aimed at the luxury market. The rugs designed by Atelier EB and Marc Camille Chaimowicz will be produced by Begg Scotland in a limited run due to their higher cost. Atelier EB anticipate that having fewer purchasers will allow the designers the opportunity to connect on a personal level with each individual.

Most of the projects have resulted in a physical product, such as the home and away scarves designed by Emlyn Firth and Angharad McLaren. In the case of the tea cakes, these will only remain permanent for as long as the recipients can resist eating them! The project by FOUND and Chemikal Underground deals with digital technologies, creating an app for iPhones. The app will include new musical compositions accompanied by related images of Glasgow; the producers have had to consider how such an intangible product can meet the requirements of a souvenir.

What brings all of the projects together is their emotional resonance. Each explores the history of souvenirs and their place in our lives. They prompt memories and stories. Visiting the exhibition with my grandfather, a native of Glasgow, was an enriching experience. Each showcase prompted him to reminisce on his life. These souvenirs also have the ability to cross generations, as I witnessed when some schoolchildren passed my grandfather some headphones, and they all danced together to FOUND.

The exhibition benefits from an excellent free brochure and a film featuring interviews with the designers.

Review by Francesca Baseby

See: Scotland Can Make It!
Until 13 January 2013
The People’s Palace and Winter Gardens, Glasgow Green, Glasgow G40 1AT
Monday Closed, Tuesday to Thursday and Saturday 10am–5pm, Friday and Sunday 11am–5pm.

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