ADMIRE THE ARCHITECTURE AT... THE MCMANUS, ALBERT SQUARE
PAINTINGS, sculptures, lithographs, yes. But I never imagined I’d be gazing at a dish drainer in an art exhibition. Hanging on a wall in V&A Dundee’s Scottish Design Galleries, the Lakeland Clam Shell kitchen sink rack looks comfortably at home in a room where Hunter wellies and a Holly Fulton gown are displayed alongside 16th-century tapestries and neoclassical laburnum-wood chairs.
The collection is a spirited celebration of Scotland’s – and specifically Dundee’s – design roots, and an explanation for why the V&A chose this east-coast city as a location for their first museum outside London, which recently opened to critical acclaim. It’s also part of a bigger regeneration story, boosting both the economy and confidence of a community, emerging from industrial decline and steadily finding its feet.
When Japanese architect Kengo Kuma started work on V&A Dundee, which juts over the River Tay like the prow of a boat, he wanted to create a space that wouldn’t just appeal to art lovers. It had to be a place where people would want to spend time. Inside, glass panels frame rippling water, and a sense of wide, open space feels wonderfully free.
“My colleagues showed me a picture of the cliffs of north-eastern Scotland,” says Kengo, who found inspiration for his angular building in the fierce and defiant coastline. “It’s as if the earth and water had a long conversation and finally created this stunning shape.”
The museum is reason enough to visit for a weekend, but this Unesco City of Design has much more to offer besides. Former jute and linen mills are being converted into hotels and breweries, accomplished street art is breathing new life into decaying wynds (alleys) and a sense of possibility is palpable.
Most importantly, there’s a feeling art COLLECTIONS of fine art and natural history are showcased in this museum and gallery, although the building itself demands attention. Designed by Gilbert Scott, who was also responsible for London’s St Pancras train station, it revels in Gothic splendour. Visit before October 21 to see an exhibition celebrating 80 years of The Beano. Entry free. Visit mcmanus. co.uk
GRAB A SNEAKY DRINK AT... DRAFFENS SPEAKEASY COCKTAIL BAR, COUTTIE’S WYND
Along a cobbled wynd (alley) filled with bins, an unmarked fire door leads to this prohibition era-themed speakeasy, which occupies one of Dundee’s now defunct department stores. Mannequins in vintage attire lead patrons to a basement, where the sound of swing jazz and cocktail shakers rings long into the night. Cocktails around £8.
fdhgdsjhfg fjhgfghdfghfghfh ghfgh Dundee V&A’s building by Kengo Kuma Classics of Scottish design adorn the interior of the V&A A dram in Draffens Bar
Dundee borders the River Tay