Developers behind Edinburgh’s new art trail launch bid to become festivals hub
The developers of a new Edinburgh cultural quarter which has been launched next to the tram line between Haymarket and the airport want to turn it into a hub for the city’s festivals.
A public square, two spaces for indoor performances and events, and a “sunken garden” have already been built at a new development taking shape at Edinburgh Park.
The site is now home to more than a dozen permanent works of art, which have been installed inside and around the first of seven new office blocks.
More than 1800 new homes are eventually expected to be created across the 43-acre site, which developers Parabola want to become a major “cultural destination and creative campus” for the city.
The first phase of an art trail has been installed ahead of a bar, restaurant and bakery, which will overlook the new civic square, opening in the autumn inside 1 New Park Square.
The art trail, which is now accessible to the public, include large-scale works by Eduardo Paolozzi, William Tucker, Anthony Abrahams and Kenneth Armitage, a tapestry created at Edinburgh’s Dovecot Studios and inspired by a Rubens painting, and an exhibition of images of workers on the project, captured by photographer Andy Mather.
A poem created by pupils from nearby Murrayburn Primary School has also gone on display on hoardings around the new culture quarter, while an excerpt of a poem by the best-selling writer Alexander McCall Smith has been erected on the building’s facade.
It is hoped a pop-up festival venue can be attracted from next summer to the civic square, which is just a few minutes walk from the Edinburgh Park Central tram stop. The site was used to house a vast pavilion for socially-distanced concerts as part of the Edinburgh International Festival last year.
Parabola was previously behind the creation of the King’s Place development in London’s King’s Cross area, which included a new concert hall and two galleries for visual art.
Managing director Tony Hordon said: “Art is part of our DNA – we really feel that it enriches a place.
“The various works of art that we have installed are really only the first phase.“On the basis that we have a 43-acre site and hope to deliver more than 1 million sq ft of office space and 1800 we could see countless more works of art introduced across the site.“The civic square outside the 1 New Park Square building has been designed and fitted with the right technology to support events, performances or outdoor venues.
"This could be an escape valve for the city which you could argue is too congested during the festivals.
“We think this is one of the best-connected sites anywhere in Scotland and potentially in the whole of the UK. It sits right on a tram stop, it connects with the main Edinburgh-Glasgow train and it is right on the doorstep of Edinburgh Airport.
"We worked with the International Festival last year and allowed them to use part of our land, which we think was a great showcase for the connectivity of our site. Now that we have got the civic square in place we will be having conversations with the festivals to see what we can do in the future."