Dundee, located on the eastern coast of Scotland, has been undergoing a recent regeneration. Its newest venture is the much anticipated V&A Museum. As Scotland’s first design museum, V&A Dundee tells a global story, investigating and presenting the international importance of design alongside Scotland’s outstanding achievements.
V&A Dundee’s construction took three and a half years to complete. It stands at the center of the £1 billion transformation of the Dundee waterfront, once part of the city’s docklands. With its complex architectural geometry – inspired by the dramatic cliffs along the north-east coast of Scotland- it stretches out into the River Tay, becoming a new landmark connecting the city with its historic waterfront, and a significant cultural development for Scotland and the UK.
At the heart of the museum, the Scottish Design Galleries feature 300 exhibits drawn from the V&A’s rich collections of Scottish design, as well as from museums and private collections across Scotland, and the world. At the center of these galleries stands the magnificent Charles Rennie Mackintosh Oak Room, meticulously restored, preserved and reconstructed through a partnership between V&A Dundee, Glasgow Museums and Dundee City Council. Visitors to the museum can experience once again Mackintosh’s extraordinary talent in designing this room, lost to view for nearly 50 years.
The ambitious international exhibition programme opens with Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, as organized by the V&A and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts. It is the first exhibition to explore the design and cultural impact of the ocean liner on an international scale. Major exhibitions are complemented by new commissions and installations including This, looped by Glasgow-based artist and former Turner prize nominee, Ciara Phillips.
Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee, said: “The opening of V&A Dundee is a historic occasion for Dundee, for the V&A, and for the very many people who played a vital part and supported its realization. This is a very proud moment for all involved. V&A Dundee’s aspiration is to enrich lives, helping people to enjoy, be inspired by and find new opportunities through understanding the designed world. After years of planning, we are thrilled at being able to celebrate the realization of the first V&A museum in the world outside London. The museum’s light-filled wooden interior and impressive spaces inside have been designed to provide a warm welcome to visitors, described by architect Kengo Kuma as a ‘living room for the city.’ We are all very excited indeed that we can now welcome everybody into this remarkable new museum.”
Kengo Kuma, the architect of V&A Dundee, tells us the following about his vision for the project: “The big idea for V&A Dundee was bringing together nature and architecture, to create a new living room for the city. I’m truly in love with the Scottish landscape and nature. I was inspired by the cliffs of north-eastern Scotland – it’s as if the earth and water had a long conversation and finally created this stunning shape. It is also fitting that the restored Oak Room by Charles Rennie Mackintosh is at the heart of this building as I have greatly admired his designs since I was a student. In the Oak Room, people will feel his sensibility and respect for nature, and hopefully, connect it with our design for V&A Dundee. I hope the museum can change the city and become its center of gravity. I am delighted and proud that this is my first building in the UK and that people will visit it from around the world.”
V&A Dundee opens its doors for the first time to the public on Saturday 15 September 2018.
V&A Dundee is free to enter and open daily from 10.00 to 17.00.
Photography courtesy of V&A Museum.