WHAT COULD WE DO WITH PICARDY PLACE?
Now that public consultation on the future of the Picardy Place island seems to be indefinitely stalled, Leith ward's Cllr Gordon Munro floats an exciting idea that could transform the area for years to come.
On the basis that knowledge is wonderful but imagination is even better, Spurtle wants to kick-start a conversation. Let us know what you think of Munro's idea, or describe an alternative.
There was a time not long ago when Edinburgh had more ambition.
When building the South Gyle Shopping Centre and Business Park, the Council-owned company EDI designated 1 per cent of development money to public art. The results can be seen all over the area today, with ‘Twelve Poets at Edinburgh Park’ being a real highlight. (Take the tram to Edinburgh Park Central to find it easily.)
That initiative partly inspired the Royal Bank of Scotland’s commission of Eduardo Paolozzi's largest sculpture, ‘The Wealth of Nations’, outside Drummond House. My recent Covid vaccination appointment was at Drummond House, so I was looking forward to admiring this great work when attending.
To my surprise it was gone (except for the plinth),* but it did make me think about the discussion around how to best use Picardy Place. To my mind this would make a great location for ‘The Wealth of Nations’. Locating it here would contrast with Paolozzi’s ‘The Manuscript of Monte Cassino’ outside St Mary’s Cathedral. Once Sherlock returns, and with ‘Dreaming Spires’ across the road outside the Omni, this could be a wonderful new place to reflect on the work’s impact and meaning: a real contribution to civic space.
Benches could be commissioned by Powderhall Bronze or Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop to complement the area. Really going for it, space could also be created to have an Edinburgh version of the Fourth Plinth at Trafalgar Square, featuring a rolling programme of artworks for temporary exhibition.
We have the opportunity to make this happen, but are we inspired and ambitious enough to make it a reality? Over to you RBS and CEC.—Cllr Gordon Munro (Leith ward, Labour)
*Spurtle has contacted RBS about the current location of ‘The Wealth of Nations’, and the Bank’s plans for it in future. We await a reply.