Historic Glasgow landmarks turned into chess set

A pair of Glasgow design graduates have launched a business creating 3D chess sets based on well-known city landmarks.

The iconic Duke of Wellington statue - with the cone - is among the chess pieces.

Alex Duff (25) from Cumbernauld and Michael O’Donnell (24) from Castlemilk, both studied product design engineering at both the University of Glasgow and Glasgow School of Art, and have designed the Clydesdale Chess set which features landmarks such as the iconic Duke of Wellington statue – complete with parking cone ‘hat’.

The pair thought that Glasgow was largely ignored on the design scene compared to cities like Edinburgh and London and so they decided to do something about it.

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Alex said: “We felt as if Glasgow was largely ignored on the art and design scene in favour of other cities like London or even Edinburgh, even though it has so much to offer.

“We are both from Glasgow and love it so much, so we wanted to pay homage to our hometown. It really is a labour of love.”

Michael said: “Each of the pieces has a story behind it on why it was selected. For example, we met at Glasgow University and have been inseparable since and for that reason it is the king.

“My great grandfather worked on the shipyards all those years ago and for that reason we picked the Finnieston crane as the rook, to acknowledge Glasgow shipbuilding history.”

The pair hope that the chess piece designs will become famous like the well-known Monopoly pieces and that they will hope to spread the word about their home city.

They initially designed the idea as a two-dimensional set in 2018 and it went down to so well that they sold out at a pop-up shop held at the Glasgow School of Art, where they were studying before going on to the University.

The locations featured in the set include the King based on the Glasgow University tower in the west end, the Queen featuring the Tolbooth steeple in Glasgow Merchant City, while the bishop is based on the Riverside Museum on Clyde side.

The Clydeside Chess set features Glasgow landmarks.

Then of course there is the knight featuring the Duke of Wellington statue situated in Royal Exchange Square and the Rook or Castle which depicts the Finnieston Crane.

Alex said: “Our company, 3D Scotland LTD, trading as ‘3D Glasgow’ was founded in July. We spent about six months developing and designing the chess set from January to June and then in July we were ready to start selling.

“What makes this chess set special is the combination of history and new technology coming together to create a skyline of a wonderful city.

“One of the pieces in the set is the Finnieston crane, which was used in the old shipyards for manufacturing. We are contrasting this old manufacturing method with new exciting 3d printing technology.

“In some ways it’s come full circle as the crane was used to manufacture ships and now, we are using this new technology to manufacture the crane.”

The pieces are printed using new MLSA printing technology, which uses a UV resin to create a 3D object, building it up layer by layer to cure the liquid resin into a final printed part.

The cost of the full chess set is £225, with the Clydeside Gift Box featuring a few pieces at £65 as well as individual pieces on sale.

Each of the 32 pieces takes on average six hours to print, each piece is then washed, cured and hand finished.

The sets also custom 15-inch chess boards as well as custom packaging and an information booklet.

Clydeside Chess Sets are for sale on the company’s website at www.clydesidechess.co.uk and through the Scottish Design Exchange in Buchannan Galleries.

There are Clydeside chess sets on permanent display, in the foyer of the Radisson Red Hotel in Finnieston, and one in The Duke’s Umbrella gastropub in Argyle Street in Glasgow’s city centre.