Posted : 25 October 2017

An empty shop in Dundee’s city centre is being transformed into a temporary exhibition and design related workshop space.

The team behind Dundee Design Festival have taken over the space in Reform Street as part of the city’s first Dundee Design Month.

It’s hoped that by bringing design activity to a vacant city-centre space it will have the same positive effect the two previous Design Festivals brought to West Ward Works, an empty factory space that’s now being considered as a permanent cultural space for the city.

The 240sq ft space will open to the public on Friday 18th May with a new exhibition, ‘Factory Shop’ and play host to design related events and workshops for one week during Dundee Design Month running between 4 May to 3 June.

‘Factory Shop’ is an exhibition of prototypes and products made by designers in factories and marks the culmination of the first Dundee Design Festival ‘Factory Residency Programme’ which launched last year.

“The Factory Residency Programme offered three designers work placements with Scotland-based manufacturers to develop ideas, improvise with materials and experiment with different industrial techniques. The results are really impressive,” said Siôn Parkinson, Curator and Producer of the Factory Shop exhibition. 

“One of the designers, Florence Dwyer, who was paired with Turnberry Rugs in Ayrshire, ended up working with them every week for a year to make a series of hand-tufted tapestries and rug designs. Ceramicist Dawn Youll used her residency with the Glassblowing Workshop in Glasgow to learn how to make complex scientific glassware which she’s combined with new ceramic pieces for the exhibition. And Tommy Perman and Simon Kirby have been working with Tayport-based manufacturers FifeX as well as Old School Fabrications in Edinburgh to make a series of sculptural sound devices. For the Factory Shop exhibition, they’ve used what they’ve learned to turn the shopfront window into a giant speaker that responds to the changing light of the day.”   

Clive Gillman, Director of Creative Industries, Creative Scotland said: “The work of the design community in Dundee continues to impact on the reformation of the city - from last year’s Factory Floor celebration to opening the Factory Shop in 2018. Taking design in a smart, inclusive way into the heart of the city this will certainly be unlike any other shop in this street of reform.”

“One of the successes of the two previous Dundee Design Festivals was how the event used design to reignite the vast former factory at West ward Works into a potentially more sustainable cultural venue for the city. UNESCO City of Design Dundee aims to repeat some of this success by taking over a vacant high-street property in the city-centre.” said Anna Day, Project Manager UNESCO City of Design Dundee.


The subject of creating creative places will be the focus of a two day workshop during Dundee Design Month. ‘Places of Potential’, hosted by Districts of Creativity Network will take place over 23-24 May.

The vacant unit owned by Dundee City Council has been leased to UNESCO Dundee City of Design for one month.

Factory Shop is produced by Tilde Arts in partnership with UNESCO City of Design Dundee and supported by Creative Scotland.

Photo caption: Siôn Parkinson, Curator and Producer of the Factory Shop exhibition in Reform Street, Dundee.

A video documenting Dundee Design Festival’s Factory Residency Programme can be seen here :

Full event details can be found at and via @DesignDundee on Twitter and Instagram or on Facebook at