A colourful, concrete three-piece suite – that looks like the real thing – is the focal point of a new £540,000 events venue in Lochaber.
The unusual sculpture forms part of a project to transform Cameron Square in Fort William into an attractive outdoor space to encourage more people to visit its beleaguered High Street.
The work is due to be completed today and the contractors’ fencing around the site will be removed early next week.
When the idea of installing a well-worn, turquoise Chesterfield sofa with two chairs was first suggested, it brought mixed views from local people, but it is already proving popular with the tourists.
Colleen Foggo, who is the manager of the West Highland Museum on the square, is also delighted with the new addition and the other improvements to the area.
She said: “I think it looks fantastic. It looks so much brighter and so much more appealing.
“I’m hoping it will be really beneficial to both the museum and Fort William as a whole by improving our visitor numbers.”
Mrs Foggo added that she loved the three-piece suite, which coincidentally matches the colour of her hair.
She said: “People don’t seem to realise it’s concrete. Some stand there looking puzzled and some sit on it, obviously expecting it to be soft and you can see the shock when they realise it isn’t.
“Others think it’s an old sofa that’s waiting to be collected and, already, lots of people are stopping to take photographs of it.
“It’s definitely a talking point and that can only be a good thing.”
She added that visitor numbers at the museum were down slightly during the 20-week construction period, but she always knew it would be worth it in the long run.
The square has been designed to create a level, open area, surrounded on three sides by terraced seating.
It is made from high-quality natural materials, with wood, art panels and coloured lighting to soften the look.
It also includes plug-in points for electronic equipment, fixing for temporary canopies and public access wi-fi, hosted by the museum.
Leader of the Lochaber Area, Councillor Thomas MacLennan said: “I am delighted to see the completion of this contract, which will make such a difference to the High Street.
“The council is committed to improving the public realm areas and to increasing footfall in the town centre, which we hope will lead to a more vibrant economy for all the High Street businesses.”
Funding for the project was provided by the Scottish Government.