Historic Edinburgh building inspires works of art

CALA Homes (East) recently hosted a pop-up art gallery at its Newington Residences development in Edinburgh, showcasing the work of some of Scotland’s top young artists.

The housebuilder worked with students from Edinburgh College of Art (ECA) to create 22 bespoke pieces of art that were unveiled within the entrance hallway of its Clocktower apartment building.

Students were tasked with creating contemporary artwork inspired by key elements of the Victorian building, which was previously home to The Royal Blind School and has now been refurbished into 21 apartments.

The 22 pieces selected for exhibition ranged from tactile prints and modern landscapes through to sculptures inspired by conversations about sight loss and adventure.

The successful artists had the opportunity to attend a VIP gallery event, where they discussed the inspiration and vision behind their creations with invited guests.

Phillip Hogg, sales and marketing director for Cala Homes (East), said, “The calibre of the artwork produced by the students at Edinburgh College of Art has been phenomenal. It has been fantastic to see how each student chose to focus their artwork, interpreting our brief with their own creative flair.

“The Clocktower building, with its Victorian architecture and panoramic views over Edinburgh, has so many features to draw inspiration from – and has certainly proven itself to be artistically inspiring. Supporting the communities in which we build is hugely important for us and it’s been an honour to help share the work of these talented young artists with a wider audience.”

David Moore, director of outreach for art at ECA, added, “We were thrilled to work with Cala Homes on this initiative due to the learning outcomes it provided for our students. For many of our students it was their first time responding to a commercial brief from a client. It required great creative focus, which is a skill in itself.

“The students really took to the challenge. The diversity and originality of the artwork, showcased at the gallery event, demonstrates the tremendous amount of hard work and imagination that went into each and every piece.”

Kristel Bodensiek was selected as the artist behind the piece entitled, ‘Elegant Touch’. The work invites audiences to experience it by touch, reflecting the historical importance of The Royal Blind School. Its design is described as echoing the ‘sleek elegance’ of the modern reimagining of the historic building.

The winning design was donated to Sight Scotland, who also formally re-opened the main entrance to the Clocktower building on the day of the event, for permanent display at The Royal Blind School at its Morningside campus as a link back to its own history and former site.

Davina Shiell, communications director at Sight Scotland, said, “We have a long history and many fond memories from our time at our original historic site which is now under the guardianship of Cala Homes and named Newington Residences. Returning to the refurbished hallway space and being surrounded by such a high standard of artistic talent has been a real treat. Kristel Bodensiek’s artwork is very special and we are delighted to accept it as a gift for The Royal Blind School at its campus in Morningside.”