wHY & O Street: Concept for Ross Pavilion and Princes St Gardens Unveiled



We’re excited to share our team’s concept for Edinburgh’s £25m Ross Pavilion and Princes St Gardens competition, which has been made public today >

O Street are part of a multi-disciplinary team led by eminent US firm wHY. Alongside Stuco and Creative Concern our role is to consult on the project narrative & presentation, audience engagement, wayfinding concepts and place branding.

It’s a hugely collaborative project—part of the strategy set out by wHY founder Kulapat Yantrasast to deliver not only a showcase piece of architecture and landscaping, but a design that really works for all.

Our core team is comprised of wHY with GRAS, Groves-Raines Architects, Arup, Studio Yann Kersalé, O Street, Stuco, Creative Concern, Noel Kingsbury, Atelier Ten and Lawrence Barth. The wider team includes actor Alan Cumming, writer Beatrice Colin and other influencers and voices; Aaron Hicklin, Peter Ross, Alison Watson and Adrian Turpin.


The vision is to make the site a vibrant, engaging and welcoming place that can be celebrated locally and internationally. With that in mind we’ve already been engaging with both the public and leading voices alike to ensure this is a design for everyone, with people and community at it’s heart.

This nationally-important space, perfectly positioned below Edinburgh Castle in the Old and New Towns of Edinburgh UNESCO World Heritage site and adjoining the city’s most famous shopping street, is definitely ‘a place for people’. For much of the year a tranquil space in the lively city, it then needs to transform to become the seasonal focus for some of Scotland’s most high-profile events and celebrations like Hogmanay and the Edinburgh International Festival’s closing fireworks concert.


There are seven finalist teams who have submitted detailed concepts for the new landmark Pavilion, visitor centre with café, and updates to the listed West Princes Street Gardens in the heart of Edinburgh.

Naturally, with such a high profile location, there will be a lot of opinions and ideas. It’s our aim to ensure we listen and find the common threads and views. Edinburgh’s civic realm has always been one of its strengths, but as competition between world cities intensifies and city residents increasingly value public green spaces, so it has become a priority for both the public and private sectors.


Accordingly, the Ross Pavilion International Design Competition focuses on regenerating and renewing an emblematic site at the heart of the city.

The designs were submitted in early June and will now be followed by a public exhibition with the winner announced in early August.


The Ross Pavilion Exhibition will be held at Edinburgh’s City Art Centre
(2 Market St, Edinburgh EH1 1DE) between Wednesday 21 June and
Sunday 30 July 2017.

Opening Hours:
Wednesday to Saturday 10am – 5pm and Sunday noon – 5pm. Attendance is free. Each design will be displayed in an identical manner, featuring the design boards and the physical model.

Online Exhibition:
Basic outline of all seven design concepts are online here >

The project is being managed by the Ross Development Trust —a Scottish Charitable Incorporated Organisation.

last of the cut ’n’ pasters…


A cut ’n’ paste handmade campaign snapshot presented to Japanese ‘depaato’ (department store) LaForet 1990



We were out of space in the studio plans chest yet again. Right, some of this shit has to go. And go it does, piece by piece to reveal… eh, what’s this at the back of the drawer?


A cut ’n’ paste handmade campaign snapshot presented to Japanese ‘depaato’ (department store) LaForet 1990

Man almighty, I’d forgotten all about that. A black oversize A4 plastic display book with the word ‘LaForet’ tucked into the clear spine pocket. But it’s all coming back. This remnant from the glory days of cut ’n’ paste. A handmade campaign snapshot presented to Japanese ‘depaato’ (department store) LaForet back in 1990 (a fine example of why it’s a good idea to put the date on things).


A cut ’n’ paste handmade campaign snapshot presented to Japanese ‘depaato’ (department store) LaForet 1990

‘What’s that?’ says the voice of a person in their 20s, over my shoulder. ‘That,’ I reply, ‘…is 1990’. When I was a person in my 20s. And right there, I saw myself clutching it with sweaty paws as a room-full of perplexed Japanese media execs closed in.

A cut ’n’ paste handmade campaign snapshot presented to Japanese ‘depaato’ (department store) LaForet 1990

Back then, I was working for Sony Music in Tokyo. A certain Mr K, one of the many sellers and fixers who flitted in and out of our office, had decided that I was his go-to-guy for ‘all things unusual’. It’s odd how far a pair of white brothel creepers will take you in this world. It all seemed highly suspect, but with the tacit approval of the big boss and occasional bribery, Mr K brokered my services to other agencies—in this case the somewhat straight-laced, poker-faced account handlers at McCann Eriksson Hakuhodo.

Hence LaForet, a sprawling and vaguely trendy store in the Harajuku shopping district, tapping me up. In retrospect, I only remember their brief stipulating ‘something different’ for an autumn/winter campaign. That was lucky, as my response was to stick a black magic hand over the face of a small boy in his underwear and attempt to sell it in as the lead poster image. Ambitious and dumb in equal measure—friends, I must’ve been on drugs.

Suffice to say, it was a step beyond the step beyond they had imagined (fair enough really) and yours truly didn’t get the gig.

A cut ’n’ paste handmade campaign snapshot presented to Japanese ‘depaato’ (department store) 1990

Happily, it did lead the ever resourceful Mr K and I to some sublimely random commissions elsewhere. Note to a younger me: ridicule and lack of remuneration are no barriers to creative expression. Let’s hear it for small children with voodoo heads, everyone!

A cut ’n’ paste handmade campaign snapshot presented to Japanese ‘depaato’ (department store) LaForet 1990

Anyhow, mise en scène apart, the original point of this tale and the thing that person in their 20s was so taken with, was all this visual calamity had been done analogue oldskool. Indeed folks, I am talking magic markers, scalpels and UHU (anyone born after 1985 can use Google or ask an old person to expand on these terms). And yes, all those flowers on the Botticelli above were cut out by hand. The only inkling of design technology to come that played any part was the clunking workhorse Canon photocopier. Once you’d cleared the paper jammed shots of other people’s bottoms, that is.

A cut ’n’ paste handmade campaign snapshot presented to Japanese ‘depaato’ (department store) 1990

I suppose it’s pretty quaint now. Back then, working in confined spaces, high on pen, glue and petrol fumes, the risk of brain damage and self immolation never really crossed our minds. After all, we were just doing what we loved, the only way we knew how.

Was the work any better because it was harder to pull off—I doubt it. But it does make me smile and just a wee bit nostalgic for those days of chemical and physical endeavour.

So come on kids, park that mouse and flip your switch for the solvents.


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LOTCNP is, conveniently for these purposes, a track by moo-wave popsters Joaquina, from the album ‘The Foam and the Mesh’. If you like that kinda thang—and really, you should—you can check it out here or just go straight and blow 99¢ at that Amazon.

. . . .

Himalayan Road Guidance Poetry


Himalayan road signs. HIMANK
Also when stone cold sober, don’t drive like a dober.

HIMANK is a road safety project in India’s northerly Ladakh region and a great name for an organisation. Pathetically for me, I suppose this because it rhymes with something rude. This is poetry in motion.



I can see this working on that really crappy bit of the M25 at Cockfosters where all the boy racers come off.



Still, these words are there to save lives and that is surely writing at it’s most profound.


Solid Gone


Tayma Rock

One of those little moments when you chance upon something astonishing and it stops you in your tracks. It wasn’t the rock, just a photograph of it.

Smith Journal (smithjournal.com.au) is always a welcome arrival with its rich and eclectic mix of whatever takes them. So no surprise thats where this image was. Or that it brought on a hushed ‘wow’.

The rock lives in Tayma, a long settled oasis town in northwestern Saudi Arabia. Archaeologists believe the almost perfect vertical fracture to be a natural phenomenon but are not altogether certain how it came about.

The opinion in the studio here is split too. The quasi-magical majesty of Nature versus some sort of James Cameron-esque-alien-death-ray-from-space. Either way, rock on!

Waiter, waiter, there’s a shark in my wine!


Co-operative Fairtrade Wine Advertisement gets the inky treatment in Glasgow's West End.

We all know the advertising game can be brutal and blood-thirsty work. I’d often thought there was something a wee bit gory about the original of this poster at our local supermarket. But hey, this isn’t the arty West End for nothing. So step up somebody with an inky and a deft stroke of genius. Looks like drinking lots of red wine might not be good for you after all.

pressing on


Spent a bit of time down at Glasgow Press this week to see a new project on the press. We’ve been working with acclaimed photographer Kieran Dodds to produce the first in a series of A5 postcard sets called ‘little shots’. These shots are of the boxes in production, which have been letterpressed on two shades of Materica from Fedrigoni. We needed to work closely with Dan and Larry to make sure the colour had just the right amount of contrast and they’ve turned out a treat…

Also noticed a few familiar names on the job board!

Why throw out yoghurt pots when you can use them to store your Pantone® colours?