Creative Dundee

Scottish souvenirs get designer makeover for Local Heroes

A selection of Scotland’s leading designers have been commissioned for an exhibition developed specially for Scotland’s Year of Innovation, Architecture and Design 2016. Located at Edinburgh Airport’s plaza, Local Heroes is set to gain the biggest public audience for design in Scotland to date with a predicted footfall of over 1 million passengers spanning 120 international destinations in August 2016.

Supported by Creative Scotland and EventScotland, sponsored by G&V Royal Mile Hotel and in a unique partnership with Edinburgh AirportLocal Heroes pop-up exhibition and shop features 9 commissions from product, fashion, graphic and textile design. The project’s designers were asked to ‘reimagine the souvenir’ and produce a unique travel-themed design object. Running from 1–31 August in partnership with Creative Edinburgh and Creative Dundee it celebrates Scotland’s contemporary designers who embrace colour, pattern and innovative techniques and materials.

Designs include Fashion Designer Karen Mabon‘s homage to the Scottish weather with her umbrella / parasol ‘Rain Dance’,  Gabriella Marcella’s beach towels bursting with bombastic pulsing collages, a distinctive one-shouldered swimsuit created by Rebecca Torres and Hilary Grant‘s travel blanket blending Nordic and Scottish knitting patterns with big graphic gestures.

Speaking ahead of the opening of the exhibition curator and 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. We are surrounded by designers working on the most amazing projects – they trade, collaborate and work internationally. So where is it? Why can’t we see it?! I wanted to produce an ambitious project that showed Scottish design through the lens I looked through. It was also important to me to show Scottish designers that they are noticed and appreciated – and that’s where the name Local Heroes came from.”

In addition to the pop-up exhibition, there will also be an event which features a panel discussion on designing and making with exhibition curator Dr Stacey Hunter, and exhibitors including Hilary Grant, Instrmnt and Karen Mabon. The free event takes place at Codebase, Edinburgh from 4pm-6pm on Saturday 13th August. Learn more and book free tickets here.

The entire collection is available to buy, subject to availability, throughout August 2016. The full confirmed list of designers and their work is:

Karen Mabon

Karen Mabon GIF

For Local Heroes, Karen Mabon has designed an umbrella and sunshade illustrated with distinctive hand-drawn dancers on each panel which employs a summery, sorbet inspired colour palette. The slim, classic umbrella is a completely new product for Karen, who is known around the world primarily for her silk and cashmere scarves.

Gabriella Marcella (RISOTTO)


Glasgow based designer, Gabriella Marcella, founder and director of RISOTTO, was commissioned to design and produce a set of tropical beach towels. Each is intended to be a vibrant poolside companion: there are three exclusive designs to choose from that will add a distinctive touch to your beach presence.

Rebecca Torres


Glasgow based designer Rebecca Torres was commissioned by Local Heroes to create a unique souvenir that celebrated design and travel. Her limited-edition one shoulder swimsuit is titled Axis. The upper section features intersecting brightly coloured triangles overlaid onto cornflower blue fabric while the lower section is a vivid solid yellow, the swimsuit is finished with a side panel of black mesh.



For Local Heroes, Trakke designed and produced the Fingal and Assynt 12 – two new backpacks in bright blue waxed cotton fabric. Based in Glasgow, Trakke is known for designing equipment that is durable, versatile and uses time-tested materials and components to create bags that thrive out in the wild – equipment that blurs the line between kit and companion.



Instrmnt, a design studio founded by Pete Sunderland and Ross Baynham, present a special edition of their minimalist watch presented in bespoke risograph packaging. Inspired by the way our belongings are often reassembled while in transit, Instrmnt collaborated with RISOTTO studio to imagine the contents of their Instrmnt 01-D through the eyes of the airport x-ray machine.

Laura Spring


Local Heroes commissioned textile designer and maker Laura Spring to design a travel themed product that would highlight her trademark love for colour, print, pattern and process. The result is the Arrow Travel Pouch, a screen printed cotton cosmetics bag with a hand-stamped leather zip puller and waterproof lining.

Tom Pigeon


Inspired by the colours of summer,Totem 006 by Tom Pigeon is an exclusive neckpiece designed for Local Heroes. Tomato red resin sits beside bright brass and clean white marble Corian; crisp glass-effect acrylic and mint cotton cord – a playful combination of textures, materials, and shapes.

Hilary Grant


For Local Heroes, Hilary Grant have designed a lambswool travel blanket inspired by rhythm, mirroring and colour theory and the knitting traditions of Scotland and its neighbouring Nordic countries. The blankets are intended to help travellers stay warm during flights, boat crossings and other adventures.

Warriors Studio


Local Heroes commissioned Warriors Studio to design a contemporary interpretation of a classic souvenir poster. Nummer Wans is a way to say ‘number ones’ in west coast Scottish dialect, the poster champions Scottish inventions, discoveries, innovation and design.

An event programme celebrating Scottish design will also run alongside the exhibition during August produced by Creative Edinburgh and Creative Dundee. 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.

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.”

Clive Gillman, Director, Creative Industries at Creative Scotland said:

“Design touches all our lives in many ways and design in Scotland expresses all the wit, skill and imagination of our creative community. Local Heroes offers a chance to encounter a great showcase of Scottish Design, whether for those arriving to experience this wonderful city, or for those heading off to distant places. In this Year of Innovation, Architecture & Design, ‘Local Heroes’ is a great way to connect the best of design to the widest of audiences.”

For more details on the project and to buy the designs from 1 August 2016 please visit Follow them on Twitter @LocalHeroesScot, on Instagram @LocalHeroesDesign and connect on Facebook at

Purchases can be made from August 1st at Edinburgh Airport and on the local heroes website.


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