Power, energy and the river of identity running deep (the river Sark is the border at Gretna) are clear and constant themes in the Jencks/Balmond design. By looking at the border as a series of journey crossings, back and forth, in waves that exit and enter into Scotland, Balmond has conceptualised The Star of Caledonia by using movement and shape to create a sense of energy.
The symbolism in Balmond’s design extends further through its subtle use of S-curves to mark the cross of St Andrew. And as the eye passes in movement across the structure, its abstract form appears to shift in a series of opening and closing undulations.
Creative director, Charles Jencks led a series of workshops which explored Scotland’s cultural and environmental identity. This work informed a brief for an international competition to find an artist, architect, designer or engineer to work to design what was dubbed “The Great Unknown”. The winning design by Balmond and Jencks takes its inspiration from the energy of the place and people of Scotland. Balmond was especially inspired by Scotlands acheivements in science and design. One of the main inspirations for the work came from the famous scientist, James Clerk Maxwell who came from Dumfries and Galloway.
The design for Star of Caledonia has evolved and grow through the collaboration between Charles Jencks and Cecil Balmond who both worked very closely with the Gretna Landmark Trust to evolve a design that has grow out of place. Star of Caledonia celebrates the links between the arts and sciences and the magic of the creative mind.
For more information about the artists, please see