Garry Fraser was one of the first inside Dundee’s new design museum
As a Dundonian born and bred, it was with a sense of pride that I walked through the magnificent portals of V&A Dundee. For the first time certainly and also without doubt not the last time.
The first V&A Museum outside of London stands up to all its hype. It also stood up to the eloquent praise from Tristram Hunt, Director of the V&A, architect Kengo Kumar and Dundee City Council leader Councillor John Alexander.
It stands alone as a daring architectural wonder but at the same time compliments, and not overshadows, the RRS Discovery which is berthed beside it. A wonder of its time beside a wonder of this time.
The seeds for this ambitious project were first sewn by the University of Dundee and the V&A back in 2007. Since then I have watched it grow from plans to building site, from semi-constructed shell to finished article.
If any building gives you an excuse to get carried away – this one does.
The huge cavernous space that greets you once inside belies the building’s size.
Once you venture upstairs, Kumar’s design becomes clearer.
You’re drawn to the Tatha Bar & Kitchen with its spectacular views across the Tay and to the equally impressive RRS Discovery next door.
Well-equipped research and learning rooms sit beside the restaurant, off the bright and airy balcony. The heart of the museum’s role in design and innovative exhibitions, however, are the two display halls.
The inaugural exhibition Ocean Liners: Speed and Style is the first of its kind to explore the design and cultural impact of the ocean liner on an international scale. The Scottish Design Galleries feature exhibits drawn from the V&A’S rich collections of Scottish design. The jewel in that particular crown is the meticulously-reconstructed Charles Rennie Mackintosh Oak Room.
Most importantly, however, this museum is very family orientated, and has a picnic area for families and school groups to relax and enjoy the surroundings. I will certainly take my four-year-old granddaughter along – more than once, you can be assured.
Take a tour with our gallery below…
V&A Dundee is free to enter, but some exhibitions and events carry a separate charge.
You can find out more information on the museum’s website here.