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How Scotland’s Design Heritage Inspired the Making of the Glasgow 2014 Baton

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What do the Cutty Sark, kilts and the Royal Commonwealth Pool have in common? They all wear the ‘made in Scotland’ label with pride. This is a country known for its innovative and creative approach to design, engineering and architecture. From Thomas Telford’s bridges to John Logie Baird’s television sets, Scots are renowned for turning inspiring ideas into reality.

The baton design for the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay has been conceived against this backdrop of creativity - drawing on Scotland’s rich design heritage while breaking new ground.

Looking around Glasgow, it’s easy to find design inspiration. Charles Rennie Mackintosh is one of the city’s most famous sons, his distinctive Art Nouveau designs gracing several city landmarks. From The Glasgow School of Art to the Scotland Street Museum, his talent and influence endure.

Alexander ‘Greek’ Thomson is another design hero who’s left his mark on the city, through his Greek revival stylings as seen on the St Vincent Street Church and Egyptian Halls on Union Street. The city’s parks show the architectural possibilities of glass – the Kibble Palace in Glasgow Botanic Gardens and the Winter Gardens on Glasgow Green representing the height of Victorian ingenuity.

Across Scotland, tradition and modernism populate the built landscape, mixing natural products like timber and stone with cutting-edge manufactured materials. William Henry Playfair’s classical designs for Edinburgh’s Royal Scottish Academy and Scottish National Gallery saw the city dubbed ‘the Athens of the North.’ In Dundee, the Richard Murphy-designed Dundee Contemporary Arts revitalised a former brick warehouse with copper, steel and glass.

Scotland’s buildings offer endless inspiration and so too does the country’s engineering history. James Watt’s steam engine, John Elder’s shipyard designs and Thomas Telford’s aqueducts are just a few of the elegant and ingenious designs that put Scotland at the forefront of modern engineering.

The country’s boatbuilding heritage began with traditional wooden fishing vessels and developed into the production of clipper ships and later the celebrated Clyde-built ocean liners. From fashion and jewellery to furniture and product design, Scots continue to push the boundaries as design pioneers. The art colleges of Glasgow, Edinburgh, Dundee and Aberdeen are encouraging a new wave of young designers who dare to dream big.

All around the Commonwealth, you’ll find glimpses of Glasgow and Scotland’s architecture, engineering and design influence – the country’s designs have travelled and been adopted around the globe. The baton design for the Glasgow 2014 Queen’s Baton Relay is the latest addition to that story – an icon that will inspire and bring the people of the Commonwealth together.

Find out more about the Queen’s Baton relay.

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