V&A Dundee opens its doors for the first time to the public on Saturday 15 September 2018. Today its beautiful, light-filled interiors designed by acclaimed Japanese architect Kengo Kuma have been revealed for the first time.
As Scotland’s first design museum, V&A Dundee tells a global story, investigating the international importance of design alongside presenting Scotland’s outstanding design achievements.
V&A Dundee’s construction and fit-out took three and a half years to complete and it stands at the centre of the £1 billion transformation of the Dundee waterfront, once part of the city’s docklands.
With its complex geometry, inspired by the dramatic cliffs along the north-east coast of Scotland, it stretches out into the River Tay – a new landmark connecting the city with its historic waterfront, and a new major cultural development for Scotland and the UK.
At the heart of the museum the Scottish Design Galleries feature 300 exhibits drawn from the V&A’s rich collections of Scottish design, as well as from museums and private collections across Scotland and the world.
At the centre of these galleries stands the magnificent Charles Rennie Mackintosh Oak Room meticulously restored, conserved and reconstructed through a partnership between V&A Dundee, Glasgow Museums and Dundee City Council. Visitors to the museum will be able to experience once again Mackintosh’s extraordinary talent in designing this room, lost to view for nearly 50 years.
The ambitious international exhibition programme opens with Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, organised by the V&A and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts, the first exhibition to explore the design and cultural impact of the ocean liner on an international scale. Major exhibitions are complemented by new commissions and installations including This, looped by Glasgow-based artist and former Turner prize nominee Ciara Phillips.
Philip Long, Director of V&A Dundee, said: “The opening of V&A Dundee is a historic occasion for Dundee, for the V&A, and for the very many people who played a vital part and supported its realisation. This is a very proud moment for all involved.
“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.
“The museum’s light-filled wooden interior and impressive spaces inside have been designed to provide a warm welcome to visitors, described by architect Kengo Kuma as a ‘living room for the city’. We are all very excited indeed that we can now welcome everybody into this remarkable new museum.”
Kengo Kuma, architect of V&A Dundee, said: “The big idea for V&A Dundee was bringing together nature and architecture, to create a new living room for the city. I’m truly in love with the Scottish landscape and nature. I was inspired by the cliffs of north-eastern Scotland – it’s as if the earth and water had a long conversation and finally created this stunning shape.
“It is also fitting that the restored Oak Room by Charles Rennie Mackintosh is at the heart of this building as I have greatly admired his designs since I was a student. In the Oak Room, people will feel his sensibility and respect for nature, and hopefully connect it with our design for V&A Dundee.
“I hope the museum can change the city and become its centre of gravity. I am delighted and proud that this is my first building in the UK and that people will visit it from around the world.”
The delivery of V&A Dundee has been overseen by the innovative founding partnership of the V&A, Dundee City Council, the University of Dundee, Abertay University and Scottish Enterprise. The £80.11m project was funded by the Scottish Government, The National Lottery through the Heritage Lottery Fund and Creative Scotland, Dundee City Council, the UK Government, Scottish Enterprise, University of Dundee, Abertay University and a successful private fundraising campaign which is now complete.
Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, said: “This cultural milestone for the city of Dundee is also a landmark moment in V&A history – we’re extremely proud to share in this exceptional partnership, the first of its kind in the UK, and to have helped establish a new international centre for design that celebrates Scotland’s cultural heritage.”
V&A Dundee has now successfully completed its capital funding programme, the most ambitious of its kind in Scotland, and will now focus on funding the museum’s exciting exhibitions and learning programmes.
Sir Peter Luff, Chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund, said: “Today the spotlight is on Scotland, and Dundee, as cultural organisations across the globe look on in awe at what has been achieved. For a small country, Scotland has an incredibly rich design heritage with creativity, innovations and inventions that have changed lives across the world.
“Thanks to £19 million of funding from The National Lottery, we now have a spectacular, world-class museum which is a beacon for those incredible achievements and an inspiration for the future of design.”
The public opening of the museum will be celebrated by the 3D Festival, a free two-day event on 14 and 15 September, which includes performances by Primal Scream in collaboration with Scottish artist Jim Lambie, Lewis Capaldi, Be Charlotte and Gary Clark of Danny Wilson as well as musical performances there will also be spectacular new dance, design and lighting collaborations, putting the audience and the museum at the heart of the show.
The next opportunity to visit the museum is on Monday 17 September at 10:00.
V&A Dundee is free to enter and open daily from 10.00 to 17.00.
IMAGE: V&A Dundee ©Hufton+Crow