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Hugo Burge

  • Entrepreneur
  • Ambassador for Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Hugo Burge Ambassador for Edinburgh, United Kingdom
©Colin Hattersley

Celebrating creativity and craftsmanship

Hugo Burge’s activities reflect his lifelong fascination with art, craft and design alongside his dedication to promote and nurture creative excellence. Born in 1972, Hugo is an alumnus of Bedales School and Cambridge University. He had a successful career as a tech entrepreneur, making his name in the travel sector, before turning his focus to the restoration and transformation of the magnificent Marchmont House in the Scottish Borders. His aim is to turn the 1750 Palladian mansion, which has some of the finest Georgian and Arts & Crafts interiors in Scotland, into a hub for creative people and businesses of many kinds. This is in keeping with a deeply held belief that a new movement is needed, which champions the handmade, the individually crafted, the beautiful, the sustainable and the functional as a counterbalance to the digital revolution which is transforming our world.

What does craftsmanship signify for you?

It signifies excellence in design and manufacture. It should have a story and beauty that you want to find out more about: it draws you in and makes you curious. It is something to be savoured, celebrated and treasured. I see craftsmanship and artistry as one… so, ultimately craftsmanship signifies a form of art.

How does it feature in your work and life?

I am involved in bringing Marchmont House to life as a home for makers and creators – a place to celebrate creativity. Being a craftsperson or an artist has relevance in whatever you do across the arts, crafts, purpose-driven business or social enterprise. It is about shaping or nurturing a world with values that feel right and add to the sustainability and beauty of our lives.

Do you work with craftspeople and how?

I work with craftspeople in a variety of forms: creating things together through commissions, helping to shine a light on their work and – generally – living vicariously through their talent and their stories.

How would you define excellence?

Excellence speaks for itself – you know it and feel it is there. Excellence in art takes many forms, but when it presents itself, its story will entice you, its presence will connect with you…. You know it is true – you do not need to be told.

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