Glasgow: Cultural Hotbed & Home of the Robots

Although we are now spread across various cities and call London a joint home, Saved By Robots is definitely rooted in Glasgow.

A city of contradictions, of immense energy and often underestimated, Glasgow reflects the character, creativity and humour that we really want to see in Saved By Robots. If we can get a fraction of the creativity and craic that you find in the average Sub Club queue or in a Glasgow barber’s chair into our design and work, then we’ll have done not too shabby at all.

 

TWO CRAFT BEERS AND A PACKET OF CRISPS

Before starting SBR, we were fortunate to be immersed in the buzzing bar scene in Glasgow. Amongst other fun projects, we launched Hillhead Bookclub, an eclectic, diverse hub in which we sought, from design to music, from staffing to marketing, to capture the very essence of Glasgow: irreverent, creative, dynamic and fun.. pushing boundaries and challenging norms, but always with a broad smile and a sense of humour.

Not too long ago (when we lived there), there were two decent boozers in Finnieston, now it’s the most happening part of town, with genuine choice and a real sense of scene and even The Times proclaiming it (to more than a few groans from hard-to-please Glaswegians) the hippest place in the UK. The East End is on the march, led by Redmond’s, St Luke’s and the craft breweries WEST and Drygate.. and even the forgotten Southside has a new buzz, a new lease of life with The Allison Arms in particular now awash with hipsters, cool kids and plenty of slightly puzzled old regulars.

It’s in the bars and pubs that you will get the true sense of Glasgow, the forthright opinions, the direct line of questioning but also the genuine warmth and cheeky patter. Just don’t try to skip a round.

ART WITH HEART

Whilst the more established tourist economy in Edinburgh boasts the postcard go-to visitor staples such as The Castle, The Royal Mile etc, Glasgow is the true beating heart of Scotland. Creative, unapologetic and fearless, the cultural landscape reflects the wit of the people, the industrial heritage of the city and the inner conflicts which inform and spark various artistic endeavours.

Not unjustly, through much of the 20th Century, Glasgow was saddled with a rough and dangerous reputation, one which was partly tackled by one of the first civic rebranding projects, the successful and famous ‘Glasgow’s Smiles Better’ campaign with cheery faced Mr Smiley on board for the ride.
More and more, Glasgow and the outside world came to appreciate and prize the cultural output of the city, from art and design, to music and fashion.

The world famous Glasgow School of Art is an amazing institution which seems to be in constant dialogue with the city itself, variously informing its activity, arguing with its position and championing its people.

Five GSA Alumni have a Turner Prize on the mantlepiece, whilst another nine have been shortlisted; Glasgow is regularly titled the home of UK contemporary art scene and anyone who witnessed the spontaneous outpouring of emotion at the recent GSA fire could attest to the place the arts holds in the city’s collective conscious.

The city teems with exhibitions, pop-ups and incredible installations like The Comedown, a full size, hand-built velodrome track.. an alleycat commentary on Commonwealth legacy, post Indy-Ref collective conscious and raw two wheel speed by GSA MAstar and bike aficionado Stephen Murray.

 

LET THE MUSIC PLAY

Musically, Glaswegians are spoilt. It’s now a UNESCO City of Music with countless venues and over 130 gigs a week (|and that doesn’t include the lock-ins, after hours parties or spontaneous musical eruptions in the pub).

The impressive SSE Hydro may be getting the current headlines, but the real magic happens in the smaller venues: King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Sleazys, Broadcast, Oran Mor etc (special shout out to Flat 01 who recently turned it up to 11 with architecturally dubious results) and independent music champions at every corner helping create a scene to support awesome events like the flourishing Tenement Trail. 
Sub Club is a mecca for great electronic music with stalwarts Twitch & Wilkes, Harri & Dom having long ago achieved god-like status amongst the city’s passionate clubbing community; Subculture is the longest running weekly house night in the world with Melting Pot holding a similar accolade for their famed monthly Disco affair. Alongside these long runners, there’s a constant stream of DJs, promotors and music lovers ready to bring their passions to the people, and anyone looking for proof of creativity in the clubbing community need only take a glance at the epic productions that are the iAM’s annual Tron parties.

FOODIES REJOICE

Long suffering from a lukewarm reputation for food, Glasgow’s culinary star (if not Michelin…yet) is on the rise, exemplified by the numerous street food festivals and foodie gatherings and top notch (but relaxed) food destinations like Ox & Finch, Hanoi Bike Shop, The Gannet, alongside long-term standard bearers such as The Ubiquitous Chip, Two Fat Ladies, Crabshakk and the numerous excellent curry houses of which Glaswegians have long been rightly proud.

Lonely Planet hails Glasgow as ‘the most diverse and eclectic dining city in Europe’ and now that Michelin are modernising their approach and removing the starched table cloth rod from up their backside, it’s surely only a matter of time before Glasgow gets its first star.

Travel bibles Rough Guides and Condé Nast Traveller have named Glasgow the world’s and UK’s friendliest city respectively, so the Dear Green Place’s stock is certainly on the up and we are well chuffed to call it home… even if sometimes we have to disappear for a bit.


Here’s, not quite a Top Ten, but ten thing we’d highly recommend checking out in Glesga Toon.

  • 1: Have a pint at The Belle 
  • 2: Tour the Reid Building at Glasgow School of Art (make your own mind up)
  • 3: Check out The Lighthouse, Scotland’s Centre for Design & Architecture 
    4: Visit Trongate 103 – Contemporary Art Centre 
  • 5: Experience Optimo at Sub Club
    6: Brunch at Hillhead Bookclub and browse the vintage market
  • 7: Visit Zaha Hadid’s Riverside Museum (then wander for a few scoops in Finnieston)
    8: Explore Kelvingrove Gallery then dine at Ox & Finch 
  • 9: Head South to experience Tramway Theatre 
    10: Head East to grab some steamed buns at Redmond’s of Dennistoun.