Glasgow University graduates create 3D chess game based on city landmarks


Two entrepreneurial design graduates started a business creating 3D chess sets based on famous city landmarks.

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

The duo believed that Glasgow was largely overlooked in the design scene compared to cities like Edinburgh and London and so they decided to do something about it.

Alex said: “We are both from Glasgow and we love it so much so we wanted to pay tribute to our hometown. It really is a labor of love.

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

“My great-grandfather worked in the shipyards all those years ago and for this reason we chose the Finnieston crane as the tower, to recognize the history of Glasgow shipbuilding. “



Clydesdale chess set showcases the landmarks of Glasgow

Alex and Michael hope that their creations will become famous as the well-known pieces of Monopoly.

They initially conceived the idea as a two-dimensional set in 2018, which then sold out in a pop-up shop held at the Glasgow School of Art, where they studied before going to college.



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Places featured in the set include the King based on the Glasgow University tower at the west end, the Queen with the Tolbooth Spire in Merchant City, while the Bishop is based on the Riverside Museum on the side of Clyde.

Then, of course, there is the knight representing the Duke of Wellington statue in Royal Exchange Square and the Rook or Castle which represents the Finnieston crane.

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

“What makes this chess game special is the combination of history and new technologies to create the silhouette of a wonderful city.

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

“In some ways it has come full circle because the crane was used to make ships and now we are using this new technology to make the crane. “

The cost for the full chess set is £ 225, with the Clydeside gift box containing a few £ 65 pieces as well as individual pieces on sale.

Each of the 32 parts takes an average of six hours to print, each part is then washed, dried and finished by hand.

Sets also include 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 via the Scottish Design Exchange in the Buchannan Galleries.

There are Clydeside chess sets on permanent display, in the foyer of the Radisson Red Hotel in Finnieston and another in The Duke’s Umbrella gastro pub on Argyll Street in the city center.


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