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EDITIONS
 Friday, 24 January, 2003, 11:05 GMT
Holyrood desk costs 88,000
Model of the new desk
The desk was chosen out of a short list of five
The cost of a reception desk for the new Scottish Parliament has been condemned as "exorbitant and extravagant" by Scottish National Party leader John Swinney.

Scottish Tory leader David McLetchie also denounced the 88,000 desk as "a ludicrous waste of public money".

However, Holyrood officials said the desk represented "extraordinary value for money".

They said the desk, which is 11 metres (36ft) long and made of oak and sycamore, would last at least 100 years.

Jamie Stone
Jamie Stone: "Elegant and practical"

The price tag for the furniture has provided more ammunition for critics of the parliament building project which has itself rocketed in price to about 350m.

Holyrood officials said the desk will be staffed by up six reception workers and will provide the first point of contact for people entering the landmark Edinburgh building.

The desk is being made by designer David Colwell's Trannon furniture company, located in Wales and in Wiltshire.

It was chosen out of a short list of five following open competition.

Extraordinary piece

Jamie Stone, convener of a group deciding on artwork for the new parliament, said the MSPs were impressed by the firm's ecological design credentials.

They said it would be a fitting addition to the building, which was designed by the late Enric Miralles.

"David Colwell's proposal for the reception desk is both elegant and practical, with a style which is a perfect fit with Enric Miralles' overall design for the Holyrood building," said Mr Stone, Liberal Democrat MSP for Caithness, Sutherland and Easter Ross.

"This extraordinary piece of furniture will be one of the first stop for members of the public visiting the Scottish Parliament, and the reception area is one of the many prominent places around Holyrood where Scottish materials will be showcased at their best."

Mr Stone said: "This is not a standard self-assembly desk built to last a couple of years, nor should it be.

This desk may not be cheap compared to a flatpack but is extraordinary value for money for what it is

Jamie Stone
Lib Dem MSP

"Like the rest of the building, it's designed to last 100 years as the minimum,

"It has to be made of the most durable materials, including Scottish wood, and it has to fit with Miralles' design for its surroundings."

He added: "Over the first three years alone, we expect this desk, the six people behind it, and the reception area in general to be the first point of contact for more than one and a half million members of the public.

"This desk may not be cheap compared to a flatpack but is extraordinary value for money for what it is."

  WATCH/LISTEN
  ON THIS STORY
  Designer David Colwell
"I think it's a bargain I have to say"
See also:

17 Jan 03 | Scotland
13 Dec 02 | Scotland
17 Nov 02 | Scotland
15 Oct 02 | Scotland
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