Scotland’s much anticipated V&A Dundee finally throws open its doors this weekend, letting visitors delve inside the colossal Kengo Kuma-designed museum which pays homage to region’s natural beauty – and its craftsman heritage.
The museum’s two pyramid-like volumes are connected by 2,500 horizontal concrete panels, that slot together to create a sculptural façade. Its grainy texture and colour resembles the cliffs along Scotland’s northeast coast and create shadowplay throughout the day.
‘The big idea for V&A Dundee was bringing together nature and architecture, to create a new living room for the city,’ says Kengo Kuma.
The V&A Dundee’s entrance dramatically overhangs the River Tay and resembles the prow of a ship. This angular volume leads into a large foyer lined with rich timber panels. Doubling as a venue for concerts and performances, this ‘living room’ contrasts the building’s stark exterior, and is made with locally available woods.
A sculptural staircase leads to the Scottish Design Galleries, which offer an overview of the country’s staggering contribution to the design world. Some 300 objects have been drawn from the museum’s extensive archives, and private collections, but the pièce de résistance is the newly recreated, part of Miss Cranston’s Ingram Street Tearoom by Charles Rennie Mackintosh.
Unseen and in storage for nearly 50 years, the 13.5-metre-long Oak Room was salvaged by the Glasgow Museum in 1971 when the tearoom was demolished. It has been painstakingly recreated inside the museum using original plans and numbered panels, in partnership with the V&A Dundee, Glasgow Museums and Dundee City Council.
A free 3D festival will inaugurate the building this weekend though all free tickets have been allocated. But the public can visit the new museum from Monday 17 September.