AD­MIRE THE AR­CHI­TEC­TURE AT... THE MCMANUS, AL­BERT SQUARE

Western Mail - - GETAWAY -

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

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