Come and See!
we’re nothing without you
We’ve done it. It may have taken a bit longer and we may have encountered a few more obstacles than originally foreseen, but we’re proud finally to have turned the Fruitmarket’s well-loved but well-worn building into a bold, collaborative cultural space relevant for today’s artists and audiences, and we can’t wait for you to come and have a look.
A lot of what we all liked about the Fruitmarket is still here. We’ve preserved the essential rhythms of the space, established by the wonderful art that has made itself at home here, exhibition after exhibition, over the last 45 years. We’ve kept the natural light that floods the top floor from the roof designed by Richard Murphy Architects in 1994, along with much of their re-working of the ground plan of the original 1931 fruit and vegetable warehouse. But, proceeding with characteristic flair and respect for both the building and the art it is here to house, Neil Gillespie of Reiach and Hall Architects has designed what I hope you’ll agree is a beautiful, quietly glorious new Fruitmarket that celebrates and showcases the thinking space that art can give.
In the white spaces of the Fruitmarket building we’ve simplified the exhibition galleries, improved the material finishes, and installed new lighting. We’ve turned the old staff offices into a brand new learning studio at the heart of the building. We’ve made the resource room, café and bookshop bigger, and built a simple yet commanding new main staircase. We’ve improved access with a new lift, a new front door and many more toilets.
And we’ve expanded next door, into another fruit and vegetable warehouse, this one originally built in 1891. We’ve kept this steel-framed, brick-lined building as raw as possible, opening it out by removing the upper floor and reusing the joists and floorboards rather than bringing in new materials. The Warehouse, now a joyously unexpected space for multi-artform creativity right in the centre of Edinburgh, bears witness to the history of the Fruitmarket’s buildings, a dark counterpart to the light and space embodied by the Exhibition Galleries next door.
As I write this, we’re still missing the art and the audiences that will bring these spaces to life. We’ve invited Karla Black to be the first artist to make an exhibition in the new building, to disrupt these pristine rooms with the raw creativity of her art and make them come alive. And we’re inviting everyone to come and look at her work, and at the new Fruitmarket.
Please come: we’re nothing without you.