On 15 September 2018, V&A Dundee officially opened to the public creating a new landmark building for Scotland and the nation’s first design museum. The opening marked the culmination of over 11 years of planning to realise the new museum, contribute to Dundee’s transformation and the engagement of people across Scotland and beyond in design.
V&A Dundee is the first building in the UK designed by Kengo Kuma, the internationally renowned architect who is also designing the Tokyo 2020 Olympic stadium. His vision is for the museum is to be a new ‘living room for the city’, welcoming everyone to visit, enjoy and socialise, and to reconnect the city with its historic River Tay waterfront.
Since opening, the museum has welcomed over 900,000 visitors, significantly exceeding original estimates. Standing at the centre of Dundee’s waterfront transformation, it has been widely recognised for its contribution to the repositioning of the city as a great place to live, visit, study and invest in. V&A Dundee symbolises Dundee’s vision for the future helping change perceptions of the city and achieve global recognition, such as being named in Lonely Planet’s top 10 Best in Europe destinations for 2018, and Time magazine’s World’s 100 Greatest Places of 2019.
The museum has an ambitious vision to provide a world-class experience and tell a global story, investigating the international importance of design, alongside the outstanding achievements of Scotland. The opening programme demonstrated that vision through a vibrant programme which included a public festival, exhibitions, new design commissions and events.
V&A Dundee has been developed through a unique partnership between the V&A, Dundee City Council, the University of Dundee, Abertay University and Scottish Enterprise. The museum is estimated to have an economic impact of £23 million across Scotland in its first year, supporting 604 full-time equivalent jobs. V&A Dundee’s creation also allows design exhibitions to be shown in Scotland on a scale never seen before, as its exhibition galleries are the nation’s largest.
A great start
V&A Dundee director Philip Long said he was "proud and delighted":
“The last 12 months have been remarkable and I can hardly believe all that’s been achieved in that time. As well as welcoming hundreds of thousands of visitors and putting on world-class exhibitions championing Scottish and international design, the museum has really become part of the city.
We’re very proud of the contribution we have already made to Dundee and Scotland, and the opportunities we are generating for our nation’s creative talent"
Why is V&A Dundee important?
Scotland is a nation of designers and innovators, from the invention of waterproof fabric by Charles Macintosh, to the pioneering work of Patrick Geddes in improving urban living conditions and creating modern town planning and Ian Callum’s leadership of design at Jaguar.
However, the story of Scotland’s design heritage – which has incredible power to inspire new creativity for the future – has never been fully told in one place. V&A Dundee will bring together hundreds of historically significant objects from the V&A and collections across Scotland to tell this story, in the museum and online.
The profile of V&A Dundee, including the international touring exhibitions from V&A, will act as a major tourism boost for Dundee and Scotland. But V&A Dundee is more than just a building. V&A Dundee is active across Scotland, with programmes which engage schools, communities, colleges, universities and businesses with the power of design to enrich lives.