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First look inside new V&A Dundee ahead of public opening

The £80.1m building, designed by Kengo Kuma, will open its doors on Saturday.

A special preview of the new V&A in Dundee is taking place ahead of its official opening.

The £80.1m building, designed by Kengo Kuma, is set to open its doors on Saturday and museum bosses anticipate a large number of visitors.

However, members of the media and invited guests were allowed inside its doors on Wednesday.

First look: Inside the V&A.
First look: Inside the V&A. Hufton + Crow

They have been given preview of the collections and exhibits housed inside.

The images show the staircase, main entrance hall and some of the galleries in the new museum, which is the centrepiece of the ongoing £1bn regeneration of Dundee's waterfront.

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

One of the highlights is the Charles Rennie Mackintosh Oak Room - the conserved and painstakingly reconstructed interior of Miss Cranston's Ingram Street tearoom which has been unseen for 50 years.

Media and invited guests have been allowed inside.
Media and invited guests have been allowed inside. Hufton + Croft

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.

Preview of the collections and exhibits.
Preview of the collections and exhibits. Hufton + Crow

"The museum's light-filled wooden interior and impressive spaces inside have been designed to provide a warm welcome to visitors, described by architect Kengo Kuma as a 'living room for the city'.

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

V&A
Hufton + Crow

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

Architect 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'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.

'The big idea for V&A Dundee was bringing together nature and architecture, to create a new living room for the city.'
Kengo Kuma, architect of V&A Dundee

"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. I am delighted and proud that this is my first building in the UK and that people will visit it from around the world."

V&A
Hufton + Crow

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.

Culture Secretary Fiona Hyslop said: "V&A Dundee is a powerful symbol of Dundee's new confidence and a major addition to Scotland's world-class collection of museums and visitor attractions."

V&A
Hufton + Crow

As one of the most eagerly anticipated cultural attractions in Scottish history, V&A Dundee, prepares to open its door, VisitScotland Chief Executive Malcolm Roughead, commented:

"The opening of V&A Dundee is a momentous occasion, the start of an unmissable new chapter in Scottish tourism.

"The arrival of such a highly-regarded attraction represents a truly unique opportunity to take the region, and the country as whole, from a good, to a great visitor destination, showcasing our cultural offering to a global audience.

"2018 has cemented Dundee's reputation as a must-see city.

"This iconic structure will be a game-changer, not just for tourism in Dundee, but also the surrounding areas of Angus, Perthshire and Fife - drawing visitors from far and wide, growing the economy, creating jobs and sustaining communities.

"Since the announcement was first made over a decade ago, excitement and anticipation has been mounting and Dundee has undergone an incredible tourism transformation.

"VisitScotland, V&A Dundee, relevant stakeholders and the wider industry are working closely to position the East of Scotland as a destination to visit, live and work, study and invest in."

V&A Dundee in numbers

  • 300 - Exhibits in the free-to-enter Scottish Design Galleries. 
  • £12 - Cost of full price ticket for inaugural exhibition Ocean Liners: Speed and Style.
  • 8,445 - Square metres - Total museum floor space.
  • 2,500 - Stone panels covering the exterior of the building.
  • 64 - Age of architect Kengo Kuma.
  • £80.1m - Cost of museum construction.
  • 50 - Years Charles Rennie Mackintosh's Oak Room has gone unseen until now.
  • 2,500 - Diamonds in the Valkyrie tiara by Cartier on display.
  • 39 - Restaurant menu options, from haggis gnocchi to Arbroath Smokie tart.

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