Drawing from nature: how Scotland’s landscape shapes design

Join us at V&A Dundee to explore how landscapes inspire designers across Scotland.

Our landscape, both urban and rural, inspires designers across the country. From biomorphism, and design that replicates nature, to designs made for hyper-specific environments, there are many ways to be influenced by our surroundings.

Join us as we chat with a panel of designers directly inspired by Scotland’s landscape about their practices and processes.

Presented in collaboration with V&A Dundee and inspired by the display Stories From The Building.

About RSE investigates…

Every year, the Royal Society of Edinburgh explores a key topic through its ‘RSE investigates’ series, engaging community leaders and experts to tackle pivotal questions. This year, we investigate Scotland’s creative industries, examining their role as a catalyst for change and how they help to address contemporary challenges. As Scotland’s National Academy, we celebrate interdisciplinary expertise that fosters innovation across sectors like art, literature, technology, academia, and culture. This year’s series highlights the importance of supporting libraries, celebrating literary traditions, understanding architecture’s role in identity, and exploring Scotland’s impact on countercultural creativity.

See the full programme


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Leonie Bell

Director of V&A Dundee

Leonie Bell is director of V&A Dundee, Scotland’s Design Museum. As Director, she leads the organisation from its spectacular home in Dundee’s reimagined waterfront, delivering the museum’s vision to inspire and empower through design, and championing design and designers and the infinite possibilities they bring as catalysts of creativity and change. Leonie has had a wide variety of leadership roles in culture and design from Glasgow 1999: UK City of Architecture & Design, local government, Scottish Government, London 2012, Glasgow 2014, Creative Scotland and The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Architecture, Design and the City. Leonie is also an Honorary Professor of Design at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, University of Dundee, a Design Economy Ambassador for the Design Council, a trustee of the Edinburgh International Festival, and a member of The Empress Theophano Prize Advisory Council.
A man in a blue shirt


Eelco Hooftman

Founding Director GROSS. MAX. Landscape Architects

Eelco Hooftman co-founded GROSS. MAX. Landscape Architects and graduated from the University of Agriculture Wageningen, The Netherlands. He’s known for blending theory and practice in landscape architecture, with award-winning projects worldwide. He’s given lectures internationally and received three “Art for Architecture” Awards. Eelco serves as a board member for Architecture + Design Scotland and has directed major projects like the Landscape Master Plan for Royal Botanic Gardens Kew and the transformation of Tempelhof Airport in Berlin. He’s also worked on urban projects in various cities. Eelco has held visiting professor positions at GSD Harvard and ETH Zurich, among others, and is a member of the Royal Scottish Academy.
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Steven Blench

Co-founder of CHALK

Steven’s passion for plasterwork intertwines tradition and innovation. Alongside Ffion, they founded Chalk Plaster, merging historic restoration with contemporary design. Their expertise in clay, lime, and gypsum is rooted in deep historical research. Since 2016, they’ve tackled diverse projects, from restoring the Adam Dome at General Register House to crafting a modern facade for Konishi Gaffney Architects. Their work includes a wide range of restoring historic interiors from minor repairs to the complete reinstatement of original designs. Their work extends to furniture for Vacheron Constantin, art installations for KPMG and Johnnie Walker, and scholarly pursuits like a consultation paper on historic plaster finishes at the Glasgow School of Art. Before this, Steven worked for the Royal Collection cataloguing decorative artworks at Holyrood Palace, Windsor Castle and Buckingham Palace.
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Saturday May 11th, 2024 13:00-14:00


V&A Dundee