THE £80.11m V&A Dundee is today can be revealed, inside and out, for the first time.

With a permanent Scottish Design Gallery featuring a Charles Rennie Mackintosh masterpiece, and a first exhibition featuring the history of ocean liners, the museum - its impressive angles and dark striated bulk inspired by the cliffs of north-east Scotland - will open its doors to the public on Saturday.

However, this morning the nation's press can report from inside the imposing building on Dundee's waterfront, an externally stark and highly modern addition to the banks of Tay, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma.

Kuma said he hopes that the museum, which partially overhangs the river Tay, is winged with two balconies and set in shallow pools, will be a "new living room for the city".

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The interior is an impressive space floored by dark limestone and lined with hundreds of wooden slats, a light-filled space which expands in size and space as you move from the ground floor to the first.

A staircase takes visitors from the ground floor to the exhibition spaces on the higher floor, as does a lift walled with wire mesh, which often ripples with light reflected from the river.

HeraldScotland: Inside the V&A

A large work of art, with ceramic pieces resembling enormous daubs of paint, adorns one wall, a work by the Glasgow-based artist and former Turner prize nominee Ciara Phillips.

V&A Dundee hope that the new museum can attract hundreds of thousands of visitors: both to the free and permanent design gallery, and its paid-for "blockbuster" shows, many, like its first, from the V&A in London.

The city council are estimating Dundee will benefit from an economic boost of £11.6m a year due to the museum.

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Kuma added: "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."

HeraldScotland: Inside the V&A

The building is two in one, a complex mass which includes a tunnel through its centre, through which visitors can view the silvery Tay or, from the Tay, the centre of the city.

The architect added: "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."

V&A Dundee’s construction and fit-out took three and a half years to complete and is a key part of the £1 billion transformation of the Dundee waterfront.

Its own cost has expanded: the museum was initially priced at £45m.

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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 Scotland and further afield.

Notably, Mackintosh's Oak Room has been restored, conserved and reconstructed through a partnership between V&A Dundee, Glasgow Museums and Dundee City Council.


It has not been seen by the public for more than 50 years.

The first exhibition - Ocean Liners: Speed and Style - has been organised by the V&A and the Peabody Essex Museum in Salem, Massachusetts.

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 cost of the building was paid for 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, which is now complete.

The Scottish Government is heavily invested in the museum: it provided £38m towards the museum, plus £361,000 in 2018-19 to support its first year of activity.

The UK Government also gave £5m.

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Councillor John Alexander, Dundee City Council Leader, said: "V&A Dundee is the perfect illustration of how the city is forging a new path and being transformed for every resident, worker and visitor.

"We are not a city which limits its ambitions and there is much more to come from our creative and dynamic city."

HeraldScotland: Inside the V&A

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.”

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."

The public opening of the museum is being marked 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.

Thousands of free tickets have already been distributed for the opening weekend.