Scotland’s First Design Museum, by Kengo Kuma

21.11.2018

©Hufton+Crow

For his debut on British soil, Japanese architect Kengo Kuma thought big: he has given Scotland its first design museum, the V&A Dundee.

An angular building which doesn’t look unlike an ocean liner, the younger brother of the Victoria & Albert Museum in London overlooks the Tay, the longest river in Scotland. To develop its international aura, the museum doesn’t simply rely on the fame and talent of the architect behind it: it also, of course, relies on the pieces it displays.
The space, “generous and informal” according to Kengo Kuma (the creative force behind the Olympic Stadium for the Tokyo Games in 2020, amongst other projects), positions itself as a cosmopolitan and welcoming sharing space, open to tourists and the 150,000 residents of the city alike.

As ever, Kengo Kuma has made nature the central element of his vision. The two parts of the building are split by an opening which flows into the river like a tributary, giving visitors the impression of exploring an underwater grotto. But above all, the V&A Dundee pays homage to Scottish landscapes: all the concrete panels adorning the building were cut individually to give an uneven look. The way they are layered thus mimics the natural erosion of the cliffs in the region, exemplifying Kuma’s remarkable attention to detail.

©Hufton+Crow

©Hufton+Crow

©Hufton+Crow

©Hufton+Crow

©Hufton+Crow

©Hufton+Crow

©Michael McGurk