Jaguar's design director on how Dundee's "bold" V&A museum can make an impact

Dundee's V&A museum is due to open in the summer of 2018.

Dundee's V&A museum is due to open in the summer of 2018.

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One of the world’s most celebrated car designers says Dundee’s new V&A museum can become a “destination” in its own right and make a “bold statement” about his home country.

Ian Callum, a Glasgow School of Art graduate who is now Jaguar’s design director, appears in a new short film created for the £80 million project ahead of its planned opening in 2018.

Dumfries-born Callum - named one of the world’s top 10 designers last year - famously submitted sketches to Jaguar when he was 14 in the hope of landing a job with the company he eventually joined as design director in 1999.

In the Dundee V&A film, Callum, now 62, states: “Design can change the world, it change the way people live, it can change the economics of a country, it can change so much.”

The new film, released to coincide with the project reaching a major construction milestone of its upper floor being installed, also features appearances from fashion designer Hayley Scanlan, computer games creator Malath Abbas and broadcaster Lorraine Kelly.

It reveals that the attraction’s displays will be drawn from more than 12,000 items from the V&A’s archives in London, as well as collections the length and breadth of Scotland.

Speaking about Dundee’s V&A on the short film, Callum said: “I think Scotland needs a base for design that people can go and view and understand and enjoy and be part of. I’m sure it will do that.

“I hope it is recognised as a very bold statement and that it becomes a destination.

“Design is about capturing the notion of creativity and of being inspired by that very notion itself - to go and do something better than someone else has done. That is what inspired me.

“Nations can live and survive culturally on design, I actually believe that.”

Dundee’s V&A, which was first announced in 2007, has been dogged by controversy over delays and a ballooning budget, which soared from £45 million to £80 million in January of last year, before a rescue package was agreed with the Scottish Government.

Work on the long-delayed V&A building, which is at the heart of the city’s £1 billion waterfront regeneration project, began in March 2015 at a vast site next to Dundee’s famous polar exploration ship Discovery. A new public park, Slessor Gardens, has since opened up between the V&A site and the Caird Hall.

The half-finished structure of the museum, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, will play a key role in “Lights Nights” - the finale event of a nationwide Festival of Architecture - this weekend when it is one of several buildings in the city to be transformed by special effects.

Scanlan, who studied textiles at Dundee’s Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design, was named young designer of the year at the Scottish Fashion Awards in 2012.

Speaking in the film, she said: “It’s great to see something happen in your home town. The interest in the creative side of things here is only going to increase.

“I particularly look forward to the fact knowing that my young little boys, who are going to be five at Christmas, are going to be growing up with the V&A there and to know that you are living with that on your doorstep.

“Young people who want to become a designer will see that it is actually possible.”

Kelly, one of the city’s most high-profile ambassadors and a die-hard supporter of Dundee United Football Club, was filmed being given a guided tour of the construction site.

She said: “The exciting thing about the V&A is that it is for the people. Museums should be that.

“From all over Scotland, all over the and indeed all over the world....people will come here and they will love it. It’s just wonderful.”

Joanna Norman, senior curator at the V&A in London, who is also the lead curator of the Scottish galleries being designed for Dundee, said: “When visitors come to the new V&A Dundee I hope what they’ll feel is a certain sense of amazement at the breadth of Scotland’s design heritage.

“There is a wealth of material that we have in the collection that will be in show, telling new stories that really haven’t been told before.”

V&A Dundee director Philip Long said: “It is going to be the first V&A museum in the world outside London and that’s a very exciting prospect for a city like Dundee which has such a strong creative background.

“This new museum can showcase that creativity and the whole country’s creativity. The investment that is happening in Dundee is set to transform people’s lives in this city.

“V&A Dundee has a big part to play in that when we open. We are working on projects already, with communities across the whole region, to get people involved in design. That has been a really exciting and quite empowering experience for young people, the young people that will be able to look to V&A as a place for them in the future.”

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