The V&A Dundee, Scotland’s first design museum, opens this September, offering the city a new creative centre. Exploring the past, present and future of a multitude of new media, the cultural development will feature a rich international programme covering architecture, ceramics, engineering, fashion, furniture, jewellery, textiles, game design and more.
The building is the work of Japanese architect Kengo Kuma (b. 1954), whose complex geometric design is inspired by the surrounding cliffs. Echoing the sublimity of the landscape through striking concrete lines and curving walls, the unique layout connects the institution with its historic waterfront. The structure twists both horizontally and vertically, creating changing patterns of light and shadow that provide a sense of movement inspired by nature. As Kuma explains: “The uniqueness of this project for us is in the position between the water and the city – it is very different from a normal site as it sits in between land and water. The design of V&A Dundee attempts to translate this geographical uniqueness into the building by creating an artificial cliff.”
A focus on connectivity and social interaction is key. Blending an environmental sensibility with a concern for communities, the architect continues: “The building acts like a connector between the river and the city … The big idea for the structure was bringing together nature and architecture, and to create a new living room for the city.”
The museum’s core collection, housed in the Scottish Design Galleries, tracks the country’s heritage through 300 diverse exhibits from across the centuries – from a 15th century illuminated Book of Hours to the innovative snap40 healthcare device. The inaugural exhibition, Ocean Liners: Speed and Style continues Kuma’s interest in the history of the locale, exploring the growth of global travel through engineering.
A two-day 3D festival also marks the museum’s opening, celebrating the work of emerging visionaries through music, design and dance. Part of Scotland’s Year of Young People 2018, the event offers, as culture secretary Fiona Hyslop notes: “a unique opportunity to harness these talents and truly make a mark on the future of Dundee and Scotland’s flourishing art, design and creative scene.”
V&A Dundee opens 15 September. Find out more here.
1. Images by Ross Fraser McLean.