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V&A Dundee hailed as visitors get first glimpse inside

UK News | Published:

The waterfront design museum is expected to attract visitors from all over the globe.

New V&A Dundee

The new V&A Dundee has given visitors a first glimpse inside as the museum a decade in the making opened its doors on the banks of the Tay.

Scotland’s first museum dedicated to design is the centrepiece of a £1 billion redevelopment of the Dundee’s waterfront and has attracted interest from around the globe.

Architect Kengo Kuma joined V&A Dundee director Philip Long and invited guests on Wednesday as they enjoyed a first look at the interior ahead of the public opening on Saturday.

Mr Long hailed the museum – dubbed the “V&Tay” – as a place of inspiration, discovery and learning, and a symbol of Dundee’s growing confidence.

He said: “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.

“We are all very excited indeed that we can now welcome everybody into this remarkable new museum.”

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The Scottish Design Galleries feature 300 exhibits drawn from the V&A’s collections of Scottish design, as well as from museums and private collections across the world.

A highlight is Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Oak Room – the reconstructed interior of Miss Cranston’s famous Ingram Street tearoom which has been unseen for 50 years.

Oak Room at V&A
Alison Brown, curator from Glasgow Museums, inside a Charles Rennie McIntosh oak room at the new V&A Dundee (Andrew Milligan/PA)

Mr Long said it was “very special and fitting” that people would be able to see one of the world renowned architect’s lost interiors in the 150th anniversary year of his birth.

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Mr Kuma, whose winning design for the £80.1 million building was selected from more than 100 entries, said his aim was to reconnect the city with nature, and he took inspiration from the cliffs of Scotland’s north east coast.

Broad views of the Tay can been enjoyed from the outdoor terraces and restaurant at the museum, which has been built into the water to resemble the prow of a ship.

Mr Kuma said: “The big idea for V&A Dundee was bringing together nature and architecture, to create a new living room for the city. 

“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.”

Architect Kengo Kuma
Architect Kengo Kuma outside the finished exterior of the new £80.1m museum (Andrew Milligan/PA)

More than 10,000 people are expected to attend an event at the museum on Friday, with thousands more visiting on Saturday for a festival along the waterfront.

The 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 private fundraising campaign.

Council leader John Alexander said tourism figures for the year to April 2018 had shown a 9.8% increase in overnight stays.

This is on the back of the “energy, excitement and attraction” created by V&A Dundee and everything it represents, he said.

Earlier this year the city was selected as a top European destination by travel guide Lonely Planet which cited the opening of the museum.

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