Located in the heart of the Highland city of Inverness, The Gathering Place is a minimalist yet powerful gesture on the Scottish landscape. Bridging design, architectural gardens, landscape and art, the piece has just been unveiled by a creative team composed of artists Sans Façon and architects KHBT, alongside the City of Inverness. It creates not only an elegant architectural landmark for the region, but also a place for gathering and contemplation for locals and visitors alike. 

The piece, all sweeping curves and tactile materiality, can be found along the banks of the iconic River Ness, conversing with the water and nature beyond. Partly nestled into the riverbank, and partially floating above the water, the design aims to reconnect ‘the city with the river, drawing out its stories, engendering a sense of place and creating access to the river’, explain its creators. 

people sitting at and enjoying the Gathering Place in Inverness

This is not just an opportunity to create a beautiful, sculptural piece, set against the green nature of its context. It is also an attempt to symbolically and practically ‘revisit the river’s social role’, say the team, celebrating both the Ness and the city. Highlighting this approach, the structure takes the visitor on a jounrey through the Scottish landscape, transforming from a bench, to a pathway, a platform and eventually, a pier or a bridge-like experience. 

The Gathering Place is made out of Clashach stone, which can be sourced from the region, putting the emphasis once more on locality and community. Not only it’s a beautiful material but it’s also intrinsically connected to the region. The piece was also constructed locally by Beauly-based company Simpson Builders. 

‘After the intense research, including the collection of many stories from the people of Inverness, it felt appropriate to create a minimal gesture that enhances the notion of the river being the main actor, whilst creating a tangible connection between the spectators from both embankments,’ says KHBT director and Berlin International University of Applied Science professor Karsten Huneck. §

spatial installation in Scotland that mixes art and architecture
aerial of installation that doubles as a pier in Inverness
pier type structure over water among green trees