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Published On: Tue, Feb 5th, 2013 at 5:20pm

Quote from McCall Smith puts the seal on council office development

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A new public art installation has been designed as part of a council-backed office building to feature the words of Edinburgh author, Alexander McCall Smith. 

The city centre development next to the Edinburgh International Conference Centre is almost complete, and the art wall which features a quote from the wordsmith was unveiled earlier today.


Edinburgh author Alexander McCall Smith has been recognised in a new public art installation shown to the public for the first time today. The art wall, which forms part of the new Atria Edinburgh office development that is being developed and funded by The City of Edinburgh Council, features a quote from the Edinburgh based author in celebration of his acclaimed works that have helped profile the capital city around the globe.

The Alexander McCall Smith quote used is:  ‘This is a city of shifting light, of changing skies, of sudden vistas.  A city so beautiful it breaks the heart again and again.’  The quote was originally written by the author as part of a campaign to promote Edinburgh in partnership with the City of Edinburgh Council, Marketing Edinburgh, Essential Edinburgh and Edinburgh City of Literature.

McCall Smith himself unveiled the new public art wall, accompanied by Council Leader,  Andrew Burns, and Chief Executive, Sue Bruce, on a new public thoroughfare, Ladyfield.   The new walkway, which will only be open to pedestrians, connects Morrison Street with Conference Square, and runs between the two office developments Atria One and Two. The name Ladyfield was chosen to reflect an old street name (Ladyfield Place) that existed in the close vicinity in the 1800s.


The art wall installation at Atria Edinburgh was a key feature of the building’s design at its inception, to celebrate Edinburgh’s strong literary heritage and its status as the world’s first UNESCO City of Literature. It has been designed to provide a piece of public art for the city and to enhance a newly created public space in The Exchange, Edinburgh’s central business district.

Councillor Andrew Burns, Leader of the City of Edinburgh Council, said:-  “Atria’s art wall celebrates the work of one of the capital’s most internationally renowned authors. Alexander McCall Smith is very passionate about Edinburgh and I am delighted that his words, which describe the unique nature of Edinburgh to a tee, have been captured here in stone to inspire generations to come.”

Alexander McCall Smith commented:  “I was delighted and honoured to be asked by The City of Edinburgh Council and the Edinburgh UNESCO City of Literature Trust if my words could be used on this very prominent wall in the heart of the city.  If your words are to be set in stone, then you have to be careful what you say!  You have to mean it.  And I do mean what I say about this magnificent city, of which I am proud to be a citizen and which will always be my home.”

Atria Edinburgh is the Council’s landmark Grade A office development located next to the EICC (Edinburgh International Conference Centre). It is split between two buildings (Atria One and Two), comprising nearly 200,000 sq ft of accommodation.  It is the only speculative city centre Grade A office building currently being developed in the UK, outside London and the South East, to offer more than 100,000 sq ft in quarter 1 2013.

The commercial office development has been undertaken alongside an extensive expansion of the adjacent Edinburgh International Conference Centre (EICC). Since the EICC opened in 1995 it has delivered an economic impact for Edinburgh of more than £300 million.  To compete in a global conference market the EICC needed to expand to attract even greater numbers and host larger events, thereby realising an estimated £2.3 billion economic impact for Edinburgh and Scotland over a 30-year term.

Atria Edinburgh is due to be launched officially in April 2013, and plans to welcome its first tenants in June.  In early May the EICC will host International Investigative Dermatology (IID 2013), the first event in its newly expanded facility which is expected to attract 2,000 international delegates.

Atria Edinburgh is being marketed for let by joint agents Jones Lang LaSalle and Montagu Evans.

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About the Author

- Founding Editor of The Edinburgh Reporter. Edinburgh-born multimedia journalist, and always available for freelance work. A keen iPhoneographer!

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