Today we visited the newly opened Victoria & Albert Museum in Dundee. I had been really looking forward to getting up to Dundee to see it, so jumped at this spur of the moment opportunity when I was home for the weekend in Edinburgh… but I have to admit I was a little underwhelmed and disappointed.
The building itself, designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, is fairly impressive… even on the grey rainy day that we visited. It is the first in a list of improvements to be made to Dundee’s waterfront, and it is a stunning one. The iconic jutting concrete waves, reminiscent of the water below were quite beautiful.
However, upon entering the museum, I was not as impressed with the interior. In my opinion, the architecture did not match up with the outside, and there was so much wasted space because of the visual importance of the design choices. I had expected better.
It was very very busy during our visit, but as we had travelled all the way there, we waited in the queue to get into the gallery space. There were two main galleries. One paid exhibition: Ocean Liners, which we skipped, and the Scottish Design Galleries, which we waited for. There were also a few exhibitions dotted about the main atrium space. What we saw was excellent. In typical V&A fashion, we were transported through Scottish design history, and it was fascinating… however, there just wasn’t enough of anything! Two galleries? in a massive building? A lot of wasted space. And then when we wandered around the outside, was slightly dismayed to peer inside the windows and see that the other half of the building had been taken up with office space?! That seems like really bad planning in my opinion. Of course the organisation needs offices, but they could have been in another building in Dundee, did you really need to take away space that could have been gallery space? I’ve mentioned it a few times, but it was my takeaway impression of the V&A Dundee, there was just a lot of wasted space. What we saw was wonderful, but it was underwhelming…
Much arty love.