V&A Dundee is an architectural work of art. Designed by the acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, Scotland’s first design museum opens to the general public on Saturday 15th September, showing off its spectacular, bespoke features to the world. Kenga describes his design as a “living room for the city”, albeit a highly instagrammable one, with its light-filled and open wooden interiors designed to provide a warm welcome to visitors.
The £1 billion creation transforms Dundee’s waterfront from its faded industrial use to a monumental attraction. V&A Dundee tells a global story, investigating the international importance of design alongside presenting Scotland’s outstanding design achievements. The construction and fit-out took an impressive three and a half years to complete and hopes to economically boost the city of Dundee which has the lowest employment rate in the UK. As part of a major new cultural development for Scotland, the museum’s architecture is inspired by the dramatic cliffs along the north-east coast of Scotland reflected in complex geometry that harmonises with the surrounding environment.
The impressive array of exhibits include the Scottish Design Galleries, featuring 300 pieces from around the world and the V&A’s rich collection of Scottish design. Additionally, at the centre of these galleries stands the magnificently restored, Charles Rennie Mackintosh Oak Room, conserved and reconstructed to allow the public first-hand experience of Mackintosh design at its best. The exhibitions and events will explore historical and contemporary design work including a major new exhibition titled Ocean Liners: Speed and Style as well as, This, looped by former Turner prize nominee, Ciara Phillips.
Director of V&A Dundee, Philip Long commented on this cultural milestone stating “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 realisation of the first V&A museum in the world outside London.”
Dundee is predicting an enormous economic boost, estimating an increase in around £11.6 million a year and an extra 361 jobs across Scotland, 249 of which will be in Dundee. Dundee City Council Leader, Councillor John Alexander exclaims: “V&A Dundee is the perfect illustration of how the city is forging a new path and being transformed for every resident, worker and visitor. We are not a city which limits its ambitions and there is much more to come from our creative and dynamic city”.
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