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A steel leopard for Aberdeen

The city of Aberdeen has a coat of arms that contains three towers, the fleurs-de-lis, and two majestic leopards. It also has a touch rugby club called The Leopards, as well as a university magazine titled ‘The Leopard’. So, when a new development called Marischal Square was built in Aberdeen city centre, it was fitting that it should house a beautiful Andy Scott sculpture of the majestic cat, called ‘Poised’.

The sculpture is a stunning work of art by the renowned Kelpies artist, and the team at Joseph Ash Galvanizing’s Telford plant were pleased to be involved in protecting its steel and preserving it for many years to come.

Marischal Square is a new £107 million development at the east end of Union Street in the heart of Aberdeen. The development – which provides 173,500 sq ft of Grade ‘A’ office space with secure parking, a mixture of granite and glass in the elevations – comprises offices, restaurants, bars, a hotel, shops and café bars, and is a welcome boon to the City.

The development partners for Marischal Square are Muse Developments and Aviva Investors, and as part of the project, they commissioned Andy Scott, to make a centrepiece for the buildings, to be inspired by the leopard symbols on Aberdeen City Council’s historic coat of arms.

Scott works in steel and bronze, combining figurative and equine themes with contemporary techniques to create stunning landmark artworks in a range of locations across the world including New York, Sydney and Chicago, as well as Glasgow, Falkirk, Cumbernauld, Leeds and Belfast in the UK.

He said: “I’ve worked on this sculpture for over a year in the studio and it’s been very demanding. There are literally thousands of steel fragments, all individually welded to create the form of the artwork. It now stands five metres tall, weighs just over two tonnes, and will sit proudly atop a ten metre high steel column. I hope it brings a real presence and sense of drama to the atrium space of Marischal Square.”

Andy Scott and Joseph Ash Galvanizing

As part of the leopard’s fabrication, Scott chose Joseph Ash Galvanizing’s Telford plant to protect the steel with a galvanized coating. Galvanizing is important for a sculpture such as this, as the zinc coating will protect the steel for many years to come from rust. It also provides a beautiful finish to the metal.

Joseph Ash Telford was the best choice for treating the steel as the plant has one of the widest galvanizing baths in the UK. This was an important factor as the sculpture is so large and weighs in at 2.2 tonnes.

Scott is also used to the excellent quality of galvanizing provided by Joseph Ash Galvanizing as we have treated a number of his sculptures before, ranging from ‘Propella’ in Kent, to a series of steel horses called Herd IV for a private estate in Long Island, USA.

Andy Scott and Muse Developments

Muse Developments’ Director, Scotland, Stephen Turner, said the decision to work with Andy Scott was a significant moment for everyone involved in the Marischal Square project.

“If you look at Andy’s work and history and the massive impact made by The Kelpies in Falkirk, you can see why we are all delighted to work with him on a project which we believe will be huge for the development and the city,” he added.

“The new artwork fits right into the project partners’ ambitions to ensure that Marischal Square not only works for the business community in Aberdeen, but also draws people into the city centre area and extends the economic benefit delivered by the development.”

Aberdeen City Council

Aberdeen City Council City Centre Masterplan Lead Councillor Marie Boulton said: “At the outset of the Marischal Square project, we identified that public art would play a vital role in attracting both business and visitors to the prestigious new development, so it’s fantastic not only we have this art, but it’s also an amazing sculpture by Andy Scott.

“Andy’s work around Scotland is so well known and so it’s brilliant that his first major work in Aberdeen is here at Marischal Square and will be open to the public.

“His sculpture of a leopard is extremely impressive and is very appropriate for Aberdeen as leopards are a symbol of the city, featuring in our coat of arms after legend says they were bestowed as a gift by King James I for underwriting his expenses while he was held captive in England.

“We look forward to this contemporary new leopard in Aberdeen being enjoyed by residents and visitors in our beautiful city.”

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