Dundee V&A takes centre stage at Venice design fair

A photographic exhibition of V&A Dundee is being presented during the 2018 Venice Biennale.''Picture: Contributed
A photographic exhibition of V&A Dundee is being presented during the 2018 Venice Biennale.''Picture: Contributed
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Dundee’s new waterfront museum is to take centre stage at one of the world’s biggest celebrations of cutting-edge design.

Japanese architect Kengo Kuma’s acclaimed V&A Museum - his first building in the UK - will be showcased in a palace exhibition at the prestigious Venice Architecture Biennale over the next six months.

Architectural photographers Hufton & Crow were commissioned to capture 12 new images of the £80 million museum, which will open to the public in September after more than a decade in the planning.

The architect’s vision for the Dundee attraction will be displayed alongside work from architects, photographers and sculptors in Palazzo Bembo, which is located beside the Rialto Bridge on the Grand Canal.

Dundee’s new museum, which will celebrate centuries of Scottish design heritage and host regular exhibitions drawn from the V&A archives, has already seen the city win a number of accolades.

Earlier this week the museum, which is being created at the heart of a £1 billion of Dundee’s waterfront regeneration, was named by Lonely Planet as one of the 10 top destinations to visit in Europe in 2018.

A free two-day festival will be held in Slessor Gardens, the city’s new waterfront park, to herald the opening of V&A Dundee, which has been predicted to attract half a million visitors in its first year.

Mr Kuma, who is designing a new stadium for the Tokyo Olympics, has designed Dundee’s new museum, which overlooks the River Tay, as a “living room for the city.”

He said: “My inspiration always starts from the place where the project will be. In the past, I’ve visited Scotland many times. It’s a very beautiful country and I’m truly in love with the Scottish landscape and nature.

“When we started this competition, the first thing I wanted to do was visit the site. I always want to do this. I would be too scared otherwise. After all, certain things can be felt there and nowhere else.

“The uniqueness of this project for us is in the position between the water and the city – it is very different from a normal site as it sits in between land and water. As we started thinking about the project one of my colleagues showed me a picture of 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 design attempts to translate this geographical uniqueness into the building by creating an artificial cliff.

“The big idea was bringing together nature and architecture, and to create a new living room for the city. I hope the museum can change the city and become its centre of gravity.”

Philip Long, director of V&A Dundee, said: “The Venice Biennale is one of the world’s leading events for showing the latest developments in architectural design to an international audience.

“To have Kengo Kuma’s building for V&A Dundee as part of that is an important way of bringing our project to the attention of the world.”