V & A DUNDEE
MONDAY 17 – FRIDAY 21 SEPTEMBER
A new international design centre, the V&A Museum’s first outpost outside London, has opened this past June in Dundee, Scotland on the banks of River Tay at Craig Harbour. The £80 million building alone is a testament to the power of great design. Rising somewhat like the offspring of an enormous ship and the cliffs of eastern Scotland, architect Kenzo Kuma’s building elicits a conversation about Design before one is even inside the doors. The centrepiece of the more than 300 installations will be the 13.5-metre-long oak panelled room which Charles Rennie Mackintosh and his wife Margaret MacDonald designed in 1907 for Miss Cranston’s Ingram Street tea rooms in Glasgow. Not since the opening of the Guggenheim Bilbao twenty years ago has a new museum building caused such a stir and revived the fortunes of an industrial city in such a vibrant way. Dundee was the perfect choice especially as it became the first ‘Unesco City of Design’ in 2014. Dundee is also home to Duncan of Jordanstone College, the Guardian’s ‘finest university department for Art and Design in the UK’. In recent years, Dundee’s international profile has risen. GQ magazine named Dundee the ‘Coolest Little City In Britain’ in 2015 and The Wall Street Journal ranked Dundee at number 5 on its ‘Worldwide Hot Destinations’ list for 2018.
There is far more to Dundee than the ‘Jute, Jam and Journalism’ with we associate it, remarkable though those achievements are. Dundee is also the home of Captain Scott’s Antarctic ship Discovery for which a spectacular new museum provides a vivid introduction. The Discovery itself is an exercise and lesson in design for purpose, the first ship designed in Dundee specifically for the Antarctic. Not far away, George Gilbert Scott’s McManus Art Gallery provides another demonstration of brilliant design for a purpose-built art gallery, its operatic exterior staircase dictated by the complexities of the site. Its collections offer further inspiration to those thrilled by great design and art with work by Edward Burne-Jones, Sir Henry Raeburn, Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Lavery, Sir Frank Brangwyn and the Scottish Colourists. We dine in Dundee’s best restaurants, and include a private tour of Glamis Castle, Scotland’s most beautiful Castle, home of the late Queen Mother, taking us into areas normally closed to the public. All good things to see and do and a bright time of year to be up North!