Back in the late ’70s and early ’80s, it was one of Dundee’s go-to shopping destinations.
But in recent years the Keiller Centre has arguably lived in the shadow of its larger neighbours, the Wellgate and the Overgate, as well as suffering from the rise in online shopping.
But that’s all about to change as it steps back into the spotlight as the home of the third annual Dundee Design festival.
The festival, “Livable and Lovable Dundee Design Festival 2019” is produced by Dundee-based design studio, Agency of None, in partnership with Unesco City of Design Dundee.
And Keiller Centre bosses hope the extra publicity will bring some long-lasting benefits to the city centre destination.
Situated between Albert Square, Commercial Street and the High Street, the centre first opened in November 1979.
It takes its name from the James Keiller and & Son confectionery factory that was once in the same spot and was demolished in 1978.
As part of the festival, organisers have worked with the city archives and private collectors to curate a selection of original wrappers and packaging which will be put on display in the pop-up coffee bar.
Angus Morton, manager of the Keiller Centre, said: “There has been quite a big change over the years, particularly the last four or five.
“The use of the centre has declined a bit because of online shopping and such.”
He added he is hoping the design festival will reinvent the centre and bring some interest from some prospective tenants.
He said: “For the people of Dundee the Keiller Centre has always been a place to visit and shop.
“It was a meeting place as well. Hopefully the Dundee Design Festival will attract more attention from all walks of life.”
Angus said even when the centre briefly changed its name to the Forum Centre in 1989, it was still referred to by most folks as the Keiller Centre.
Angus added: “I’m looking forward to the festival. I think it is pretty exciting. I would like to thank the design team for holding the event here.”
Annie Marrs, lead officer at Unesco City of Design, said: “We want to create places where people spend time rather than places that people cut through when it’s raining.”
She mentioned one part of the festival to be enjoyed is the “living library” where people can exchange design books, sit and read or do work.
She added: “People have the most amazing stories about the Keiller Centre.
“They hold it really close to their hearts and it’s been a really important place for folks.”
Festival curators Lyall Bruce and Ryan McLeod said: “The Keiller Centre is the centre of Dundee. We discovered if you type Dundee into Google, the pin drops right on to it.
“Its really easy for people to get to, plus we wanted to remind more Dundonians to re-visit it because it has maybe been overlooked by younger generations.
“Across the world city centres are changing because shopping habits are changing and we need to create other things to do in them.
“We hope Dundee Design Festival helps with other ideas about how we use the city centre in future.”
To celebrate Dundee Design Festival, the Tele will publish a special supplement taking a trip down memory lane, looking at how the iconic centre has changed over the years.
Pick up Tuesday’s edition of the Evening Telegraph for the one-off eight-page supplement.