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It’s Take Off Time For Scotland’s Local Design Heroes

Press release   •   Jun 10, 2016 12:01 BST

Edinburgh based designer Karen Mabon with her umbrella ‘Rain Dance’ which will form part of the ‘Local Heroes’ exhibition

Local Heroes redefines contemporary Scottish design by bringing together Scotland’s leading designers in an exhibition developed specially for Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. Located at Edinburgh Airport’s plaza the exhibition and shop is set to gain the biggest public audience for design in Scotland to date with a predicted footfall of over 1 million passengers in August 2016.

An event programme celebrating Scottish design will also run alongside the exhibition during August produced by Creative Edinburgh and Creative Dundee with details to be announced at a later date.

The exhibition which is supported by the National Lottery through Creative Scotland features exciting new commissions which reconsider the notion of the souvenir and respond to the theme of travel. Installed at Edinburgh Airport during the largest cultural festival in the world — The Edinburgh Festival — Local Heroes will be showcased to over one million passengers spanning 120 international destinations from the 1st to the 31st of August 2016.

Local Heroes Director, Dr Stacey Hunter said:

“For many passengers Local Heroes will be their first impression of Scotland and will also form part of a fond farewell. Design is one of the most accessible expressions of 21st century creativity and I’m so excited that we can present a snapshot of Scotland’s colourful and confident design scene at such a unique location.”

Some of Scotland’s most interesting and successful designers have been commissioned to design exclusive products for Local Heroes 2016. Their work collectively represents a striking period of contemporary design in Scotland characterised by a renewed confidence and optimism. Local Heroes leaves behind stereotypes about the Scottish design aesthetic and emphasises the modern approach of contemporary designers who embrace bright colour, dynamic pattern and innovative techniques and materials.

The exhibition will present a new narrative around contemporary Scottish design culture to an international audience. The entire Local Heroes collection will be available to buy, subject to availability, throughout August 2016.

Karen Mabon is emblematic of the designers working in Scotland that Local Heroes will celebrate during Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design. Karen is known around the world for her luxury scarves which are stocked in Bloomingdales, Nordstrom, Anthropology US, Harvey Nichols HK and Lane Crawford. For Local Heroes Karen was asked to create a unique souvenir and the result is an elegant umbrella ‘Rain Dance’ illustrated beautifully with dancers on every panel.

Edinburgh based designer Karen Mabon said:

“I wanted to create a piece that was a little tongue-in-cheek nod to Scotland’s famously changeable weather and something that would be really eye-catching amongst all the colour and drama of the Edinburgh Festival.”

The full Local Heroes designer line-up will be announced in the lead up to the exhibition opening in August 2016.

The site of the exhibition is Edinburgh Airport’s Plaza – the airport’s new front door providing a welcoming outdoor space for passengers and the public and easy access to the exhibition. The 2000m2 space incorporates the popular 27m long Edinburgh letters and a 4m television screen.

Gordon Dewar, Chief Executive of Edinburgh Airport, said:

“Edinburgh Airport is delighted to support this innovative design project. Close to one million people will be travelling through this area and we are proud they’ll have the opportunity to experience the best of Scottish design during Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Design and Architecture”.

Malcolm Roughead, Chief Executive of VisitScotland, said:

“With the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design, 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 has a thriving, internationally acclaimed creative industries sector which plays a major part in contributing to our country’s economy and Local Heroes is a wonderfully innovative way to showcase a range of Scotland’s design excellence during the busy month of August.”

- ENDS -

Contact for press enquiries & interviews:

Stacey Hunter

+44 (0)7905278139

Local Heroes, Argyle House, 38 Castle Terrace, Edinburgh, EH3 9DZ


Notes to Editors

    Purchases can be made from August 1st at Edinburgh Airport and online

    Photo Caption: Edinburgh based designer Karen Mabon with her umbrella ‘Rain Dance’ which will form part of the ‘Local Heroes’ exhibition at Edinburgh Airport developed to celebrate Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design.


    Local Heroes is an independent project led by Dr Stacey Hunter in partnership with Edinburgh Airport, Creative Edinburgh and Creative Dundee and generously funded by EventScotland as part of the 2016 Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design and Creative Scotland.

    Creative Scotland is the public body that supports the arts, screen and creative industries across all parts of Scotland on behalf of everyone who lives, works or visits here. We enable people and organisations to work in and experience the arts, screen and creative industries in Scotland by helping others to develop great ideas and bring them to life.  We distribute funding provided by the Scottish Government and the National Lottery.

    Join the Conversation


    #ScottishDesign  #IAD2016


    Photography supplied by David N Anderson


    All the photos are available as high resolution from David N Anderson's Dropbox at

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