The exhibition, titled Local Heroes, aims to take a snapshot of contemporary design in Scotland, working with an exclusive list of 10 Scotland-based designers whose work exemplifies outstanding quality, originality and thinking.
The designers – hand selected by curator Dr Stacey Hunter and a panel from Creative Scotland – have been commissioned to produce a contemporary travel accessory that challenges local and global perceptions of Scottish design, in textiles, fashion, jewellery, product and graphic design.
Hilary explained how the Local Heroes brief had been to create a travel accessory that left a lasting impression of Scottish design today for the 1.2 million visitors passing through Edinburgh Airport in August.
“For many visitors to Scotland and Edinburgh, their only impression of Scottish knitwear is what they see on the Royal Mile,” she said. “My aim was to create a knitted travel blanket that would challenge the common perception and expectations of Scottish knitwear, which is often seen as parochial and very traditional.”
Hilary drew on traditional Fair Isle knitting, famous for its undulations in colour and tone, as an inspiration for her travel blanket.
“My own approach was to recreate this effect with just two colours, using unique pattern gradients to create the illusion of light and dark in a fresh and contemporary way,” she said. “I’ve been developing this technique for a number of years now and Local Heroes has given me the opportunity to really push and test its limitations outside a purely commercial context.”
Hilary added: “I wanted my design to be bold, graphic and hold on to the viewer’s eye from a distance. But it also works on two scales – on closer inspection the pattern offers all the intricacy and detail that is expected from Scottish knitwear.”
The pattern, appropriately titled Archipelago, is made from repeated triangles which each have a different pattern gradient. Towards the centre of the design they become darker and more intense, which at a distance create a much bigger effect.
Hilary’s blanket and the other specially commissioned Local Heroes products will be exhibited in a custom built pop up gallery, designed by Old School Fabrications and situated at the Entrance Plaza on the land-side at Edinburgh Airport throughout the month of August. The exhibition officially launches on 2 August – with a screening of short films featuring the products and their designers, which will be available later at www.localheroes.design