All eyes are firmly on Scotland this week with the grand opening of its newest cultural landmark now just days away.
The £80.1 million V&A Dundee will welcome members of the public from Monday and The Press and Journal was invited along yesterday for an exclusive preview of its wares.
Amid its light-filled, oak-clad interiors await hundreds of attractions from around the world, covering every aspect of design imaginable.
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This variety is best explored in the museum’s Scottish Design Galleries which have pieces ranging from the 1400s right through to the present day.
Through the 6,000sq ft space, around 300 items showcase how designers have shaped Scotland’s history through architecture, technology, clothing and even video games.
From cutting-edge ski suits and wellie boots to draft Beano comic strips and paper models of the Maggie’s cancer care centre in Dundee, the exhibition highlights just how important design and creativity is to society.
One of the space’s curators, Meredith More, said: “We were really keen to represent a broad range of design disciplines so there is something for everyone to enjoy.
“We had to balance the items we chose between what helped us to tell the story and which pieces were available to us.
“There are a lot of Scottish references and they show how design in Scotland has made the world a better place and how new ideas have helped to solve problems.”
The true highlight for many, however, will be across the museum’s entryway, housed in the largest exhibition space of its kind in Scotland.
Ocean Liners: Speed and Style is the first of the V&A Dundee’s visiting exhibitions and will be on display until February 24 next year.
Through more than 250 items borrowed from public and private collections the show features paintings, sculptures, engine models, posters and furniture to highlight what life was like during the cruise liner revolution of the mid-1800s.
It even touches on the growing socialite culture of the 1920s with a room dedicated to the umbrella-lined lido decks and glittering flapper dresses worn by society’s elites.
Also on display is the largest surviving fragment from the sunken Titanic, which is being shown in Europe for the very first time.
Exhibition curator Ghislaine Wood said: “We really tried to get a sense of the feeling and style of being on a ship.
“The first section is about the promotion of what the ships are doing and then we look at some of the design, telling these previously untold stories.
“And that takes us through to a more sociological look at what life was like on board with the deck activities and how they developed with the ship.
“We have a look at the grande descente – when passengers made theatrical entrances into the dining room – and the rise of the healthy body culture, so we’ve recreated a swimming pool as the boats had to compete with what the first-class hotels offered.”
She added: “It highlights how Scottish design and engineering innovation was at the centre of the spectacular evolution of the ocean liner.
“It is fitting that it is the first V&A Dundee exhibition.”
V&A by the numbers
44 – The Charles Rennie Mackintosh Oak Room which has been conserved, restored and re-displayed is 44ft long.
65 – The largest overhang extends 65ft beyond the footprint of the museum
200 – The geothermal bore holes below the museum are 200ft deep, providing heating and cooling for the museum
600 – More than 600 objects in the galleries and displays
1480 – The oldest piece in the Scottish Design Galleries is a Book of Hours from 1480
2,500 – A Cartier tiara at the museum includes more than 2,500 diamonds
43,832 – More than 600 people worked on the V&A’s construction – contributing a total of 43,832 working days
500,000 – It is expected to welcome 500,000 visitors over its first 12 months
300 million – The fossils in the limestone floors are more than 300 million years old
0 – V&A Dundee will be free to enter, including free access to the permanent Scottish Design Galleries