V&A Dundee

Our next university trip was to the Victoria & Albert Design Museum in Dundee. I had heard a lot about this museum so I was eager to see it for myself.

Building Exterior
Building Interior

One of the best parts about the V&A is the building itself. It was designed by architects Kengo Kuma & Associates. Both the interior and exterior are so unique and breathtaking to look at. The outside is covered in many stone panels creating an interesting angled look which will draw in any person interested in design and art. The form is to resemble a cliff, which goes well with river right beside it and the added small pools of water surrounding the building. The inside sticks with a similar aesthetic only changing the stone panels to wood. I think this works really well because it uses materials that would commonly be seen either inside or outside, meaning it fits well with surrounding buildings but still feels welcoming inside.

Pop-up set for “The Cheviot, the Stag and the Black, Black Oil” by John Byrne

This is a design that caught my eye and I found really interesting. It’s the background set for a political play in Scotland, the unique part is that it folds and changes like a children’s pop up book. I feel like this is a smart way to make the play feel a bit more light hearted since it was political, but I also see the practical side of it. It would be much easier to simply flip over a large “book page” while on set rather than move around many backdrops and props.

Prototyping with Bruck

Although not a main exhibit, I still found this very interesting. It shows the way that chairs and other furniture were made in the past with limited resources. I like this as I will be prototyping and making models a lot and would find it interesting to try one of these techniques. It may be important to go back to some to these original roots as these all are made by reusing waste materials and it is important to recycle and reuse in modern society.

Model for the Monument to Sir Walter Scott by George Meikle Kemp

This is an amazingly detailed and accurate model that was made using only wood and plaster. I found it very interesting and almost surreal to see this monument in such a small scale. As it says beside the model, this is “Kemps original competition design for the Scott Monument”, which just shows how well done the model was made to still be in an amazing state despite it being made in 1840. George Meikle Kemp was inspired a lot by medieval architecture in Scotland, which helps it to fit in with a lot of the other surrounding buildings.

Winged Tiara commissioned by Mary, Duchess of Roxburghe by Oscar Massin and Cartier

I think this piece it unbelievably beautiful and I love how it combines the work of two different artists and their styles. The tiara is so delicate that the wings “tremble” when moved bringing it to life. The headband which was design by Cartier was heavily inspired by the art deco period. The wings then bring back some elegance and class. This is a headpiece which signifies high class and royalty with the combination of gold, silver and varied cut diamonds. Overall this is a glorious design that it difficult to stop looking at as it slowly spins round in its case.

“The Oak Room” by Charles Rennie Mackintosh

“The Oak Room” is the largest tearoom made for Mrs Cranston’s Glasgow Tearooms. It was kept in storage for 50 years and was reconstructed to be a main exhibit for the V&A. It was really lovely to walk through this as it creates a calming atmosphere and makes you feel like you have travelled back in time. The dark oak panelling in the dimly lit room gives it a very interesting look. I particularly loved the pink glass light shades, which create a pink glow around the whole room. The simplistic shape of the lamp shades adds to the rustic feel but the pop of colour makes the room more elegant looking.

In my honest opinion, even though there were many beautiful and interesting design works on show at the V&A, the over all visit was quite disappointing. Despite the large building there wasn’t much space dedicated to the exhibitions. I was expecting a lot more to be there considering the huge build up to the museum being made and the beautiful exterior.