V&A Dundee

Open­ing in Septem­ber, this ar­chi­tec­tural gem of a gallery is the new des­ti­na­tion for cul­ture lovers

ELLE Decoration (UK) - - Contents -

Open­ing in Septem­ber, this ar­chi­tec­tural gem of a mu­seum is the new des­ti­na­tion for cul­ture lovers from around the world

Lon­don’s mag­nif­i­cent Vic­to­ria and Al­bert Mu­seum (es­tab­lished in 1852) has set sail for the coastal Scot­tish city of Dundee. Af­ter ten years of work and £80 mil­lion spent, the first ever out­post of this leg­endary in­sti­tu­tion has its grand open­ing on 15 Septem­ber.

De­signed by Ja­panese ar­chi­tect Kengo Kuma, its form is in­spired by the cliffs on Scotland’s east coast. As Kuma says, ‘it’s as if the earth and wa­ter had a long con­ver­sa­tion, and fi­nally cre­ated this stun­ning shape’. He hopes the build­ing – his first in the UK – will be­come Dundee’s grav­i­ta­tional cen­tre, and be ‘a new liv­ing room for the city’. The V&A Dundee’s di­rec­tor, Philip Long, who joined the project from Scotland’s Na­tional Gallery, ap­proves. ‘The build­ing is mod­ern and cut­ting-edge, yet true to Scotland’s her­itage of in­no­va­tion,’ he says. ‘Strong and re­silient, yet beau­ti­ful and clever.’

We’ve seen the ex­te­rior, but what’s it like in­side? ‘Breath­tak­ing,’ Long con­firms. ‘From the en­trance, the gal­leries seem to fold out and open up, with beau­ti­fully framed views across the River Tay.’ Those new gal­leries will be filled with a mix­ture of short-term, tick­eted ex­hi­bi­tions (some on tour from the V&A Lon­don, some in­de­pen­dently gen­er­ated) and free-ad­mis­sion ar­eas de­voted to show­cas­ing the best of Scot­tish de­sign. An im­pres­sive 300 ob­jects, from dec­o­ra­tive arts (tex­tiles, fur­ni­ture, home­ware) to ar­chi­tec­ture, fash­ion and dig­i­tal de­signs, will make up the per­ma­nent col­lec­tion. These vary in scale from a Fair Isle knit­ted jumper to de­signs for Ed­in­burgh’s Forth Bridge. Philip Long’s favourite ex­hibit is the oak-pan­elled in­te­rior of a Glas­gow tea­room, cre­ated by Scot­tish de­signer Charles Ren­nie Mack­in­tosh in 1907, which the V&A’S team has re­stored and re­built. ‘I es­pe­cially love it be­cause of its con­nec­tion with Ja­panese de­sign, which Mack­in­tosh was in­flu­enced by,’ Long ob­serves. ‘Now, the tea­room is housed in a build­ing by Kuma, a Ja­panese ar­chi­tect, who him­self is a great ad­mirer of Mack­in­tosh’s work.’ It’s just one ex­am­ple of how this venue shines a light on the global in­flu­ence of Scot­tish de­sign (van­dadundee.org).

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