In celebration of International Women’s Day we take a look at one of our recent projects, KPMG Edinburgh and the ‘Edinburgh Seven’.

For the office refurbishment we designed a completely unique space that captures the true spirit of Edinburgh. We wanted to highlight the uniqueness of Edinburgh Castle, Old Town and New Town layouts, the rich history of the city and the people in it, as well as the geology of the area and the deep routed connections with KPMG’s own history.

Each room in KPMG’s new client suite was designed and inspired by so many of the key individuals who were influential in Edinburgh during the ‘Scottish Enlightenment’ period and who excelled in their field. It turned out, however, that a lot of these key figures were male. During the design process one member of staff highlighted that there should be more of a female presence and introduced us to the ‘Edinburgh Seven’.

The Edinburgh Seven were the first group of seven matriculated undergraduate female students at any British University. They chose the University of Edinburgh for its enlightened and liberal attitudes towards education. They began studying medicine at the University in 1869 and, although they were ultimately prevented from graduating and qualifying as Doctors, the campaign they fought gained national attention and won them many supporters (including Charles Darwin) and ultimately changed the course of history.

Once the idea was born, the design of the curved room took on a more informal and intimate nature with softer furnishings and darker tones. As well as seven light rings in the ceiling to represent each of the seven, KPMG commissioned artist Jane Hunter to provide a piece for the room based on these inspirational women. You can find out more about Jane and the piece at

Jane said “In this work, I explore transitions and relationships between people and place, light and dark, patriarchy and domesticity, equality and inequality and how the collective power of enlighted women can brighten the fabric of society”.

And may we brighten some more – Happy International Women’s day!


All photos by David Cadzow.