Dundee? It’s SEXY!
Stars turn out to sing the city’s praises as new V&A museum opens on the banks of the Tay
HOLLYWOOD star Brian Cox and daytime TV queen Lorraine Kelly were among the first through the doors yesterday as the new V&A Dundee opened to the public.
Cox – himself a Dundonian – said the arrival of the £80 million design museum, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, had finally made the city ‘sexy’ to outsiders.
Long-term resident Miss Kelly said the striking building would encourage Dundonians to be more appreciative of their home, saying: ‘One thing I would say about the people of Dundee, I love them, but sometimes they don’t shout as much as they should about the amazing city that we live in. With the new V&A, a sense of pride has been restored. It’s very endearing that they don’t shout about it – but sometimes they should.’
The presenter, who called the building ‘the living room’ of Dun- dee, said: ‘I bagged my tickets ages ago. I’m really looking forward to it. What’s really important is that this museum is not just for the elite. It’s great to see there are loads of kids here and that it is being enjoyed by the people of Dundee.’
Miss Kelly, who was visiting with her husband and some friends, said she was most excited to see the museum’s restored Mackintosh room – although she admitted she might sneak off to watch the football. Her beloved Dundee United were hosting Greenock Morton yesterday afternoon.
Cox, who has appeared in the Bourne and X-Men franchises, had flown in from a film shoot in Spain to attend the V&A opening. He said: ‘I never thought I would live to see this in my home town, ever. For somebody like me, a Dundonian, who’s seen this city go through so many difficulties and be once so despised, it’s amazing.
‘I do feel this crosses borders to the people who might have been disenfranchised by it. Once you’re in here, if you’ve got any soul or any heart, then you can’t help but feel it.’
The new museum has even attracted international support with Cox joking: ‘Someone came up to me in the States and said, “Oh, I see you’re from this town Dundee. I see it’s one of the most popular spots to visit in the world. It sounds very sexy”.
‘I said, “Dundee sexy?”. There was no way in the world that I had thought of Dundee being sexy but you know what, I admit it, Dundee is sexy.’
Architect Kuma, whose design for Tokyo’s 2020 Olympic Stadium is under construction, was in attendance yesterday, meeting visitors to the museum. He said: ‘I am very happy to see people’s faces showing that they love the building and getting such a positive response.
‘I have never got such a positive response from a community about a piece of my work. Dundee has almost become my second home.’
The new museum has not been without controversy, with some Dundonians staging a series of protests in the lead-up to the opening and branding the council’s £1 billion rejuvenation of the city’s waterfront ‘obscene’.
But V&A director Philip Long, recognising the city’s situation, said: ‘There is a long journey to go through for this city. There are a lot of challenging circumstances for the city to address and it’s doing that very actively.
‘There is no doubt this is a city that values culture and our mission is to help people understand why design is so important in all of our lives.’
‘It’s great to see it being enjoyed by the people’
PROUD AS PUNCH: TV presenter Lorraine Kelly and Hollywood actor Brian Cox, top left, enjoyed the opening of the V&A museum in Dundee yesterday