Sit and enjoy new surroundings in Scott Skinner Square
Works to transform Scott Skinner Square in the heart of Banchory into a more comfortable and pleasing place to visit have been completed. The square is now open for local residents and visitors to walk through and stop and enjoy the designs commissioned by Aberdeenshire Council and created by DUFI Art.
On Saturday, September 19 a series of performances have been organised by Woodend Barn to showcase how the newly improved square can be used as an arts venue. Between 11am and 1pm there will be a drop-in arts and crafts session for children as well as jazz performances and an appearance from the Barn Youth Theatre group.
A new open seating plan incorporating two benches, 15 seats and a table as well as bespoke cast block paving with text inserts at the main entrances to the square have been created, with three new stainless steel lighting columns with elevated backlit sculptures also erected. The paving has been re-levelled and additional planters added, with planting designed and donated by Dr Mair of Raemoir Garden Centre.
The designs produced are inspired by the music score of Scott Skinner’s famous song ‘Bonnie Banchory’ and aims to create a conceptual sound-wave that flows through the square.
Al MacInnes and Fin Macrae, who make up DUFI Art, are very pleased with the progress of the project. Al said,"This has been a great project to be part of and it has been a real privilege to work in Banchory and meet so many of its residents. Banchory is a vibrant town with a rich heritage and real enthusiasm for progress – we like that.'
Fin added, “The work has really been about getting locals and tourists alike to engage with the space a lot more than they currently do. Scott Skinner Square has lots of potential as a public performance space and we hope that between the murals, the new town brand, the artworks and the seating within the square that people will take the opportunity to see that Banchory really is the place to be.”
Chair of the Marr Area Committee, Councillor Moira Ingleby, said: “As part of their consultation, DUFI Art has spent a lot of time talking to local people over the past two years and has cleverly incorporated many of the words and phrases they heard into their designs. Local people might recognise something they said engraved subtly into the new benches, seats and table or in the bespoke cast block paving inserts at the entrances to Smiddy Wynd or the Square. This adds a community aspect to the improvement project and I’m sure both local residents and visitors will be as pleased as I am with the final result. I would like to thank the representatives from local groups who have contributed to this long and complex project by being part of the Town Centre Improvement Group. The ideas and feedback from local community councillors, members of the business association and Banchory and District Initiative and many more have helped ensure that the designs fit well with Banchory and have local support.”
As part of the works to improve Banchory’s town centre, gateway artwork for the High Street entrance to Scott Skinner Square was also proposed. The feedback from members of the public was mixed and the Town Centre Improvement Group therefore decided not to go ahead with this aspect of the project. The existing sign will stay in place for the time being, but in the next phase of the improvement project, the group will be looking at signage more generally.