The Star of Caledonia is Cecil Balmond’s response to the “The Great Unknown”. It is a project of form and landscape, and is the result of a fully integrated collaborative effort between Cecil Balmond and Charles Jencks. Charles Jencks describes the work:
“Crossing the border to Scotland, across the River Sark, is now a passage obscured under a bridge by cars travelling at speed. Instead of marking this with motorway signs we are using a landform and sculpture that pulls together the adjacent site, the distant hills and the Solway.
Nestled into the curving mound and springing from it is Cecil Balmond’s whirling creation. In one sense, it is a scintillating piece of calligraphy seen against the sky which will signify various meanings as you approach – starburst, energy and other images related to Scotland and Scottish identity. It all depends from where you see it in the landscape. These meanings emerge dramatically as you walk the site, but they are also taken up by the landform and embedded in its curves.”
The Star was born out of an idea by Balmond to capture the powerful energy, scientific heritage and magnetic pull of Scotland. Balmond’s design pays particular homage to Scottish innovation and particularly James Clerk Maxwell, the pre-eminent Scottish physicist, and mathematician noted for his groundbreaking work in electromagnetic theory. It was Maxwell who first said that light was energy and paved the way for Einstein and the other great thinkers of our modern world. Cecil Balmond explains:
“The Star of Caledonia is a Welcome; its kinetic form and light paths a constant trace of Scotland's power of invention. And I am delighted to be collaborating with Charles Jencks to create an integrated idea of this concept in both landscape and form.”