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DACC Dundee Waterfront Business Lunch | Inspire Web Solutions

by  David Dwyer on  09/02/2016    1671 Reads

Update on city’s redevelopment and the building of V&A Dundee

The first event I attended as a member of Dundee and Angus Chamber of Commerce was the Dundee Waterfront Business Lunch, their annual update on the progress of Dundee’s Waterfront redevelopment and the building of the new V&A Design Museum.

The redevelopment is a 30-year project which began in 2001 and will eventually see 8 km of the north bank of the Tay regenerated.  Dundee turned its back on the river many years ago, and the concept behind the project is to reconnect the city to one of its most important assets: the river that made it rich.

We saw plans of how the area would look, with plenty of open spaces for seating and open-air markets, as well as offices, housing and shops.  Many people enjoyed a virtual tour of the Waterside project, both outside and inside the new V&A, around RSS Discovery and along the riverside, using headsets developed by Luma3Di.

There was a presentation by Dundee City Council, who are in over-all charge of the Waterfront Project as part of a consortium with both Dundee’s Universities, Scottish Enterprise and the London V&A.  Each section of the project was highlighted in turn, so we could see how it would look, how it fitted with the other sections and how it would affect the city as a whole.  They also told us the exciting news that Dundee has just been chosen as the UK’s first UNESCO City of Design.

But the presentation most participants wanted to hear concerned the building of the V&A Museum itself.  It is an extraordinary design by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, resembling a huge ship jutting out into the River Tay.  The coffer dam built to keep the river out of the building site is of such an innovative and effective design that it has won an international award, and the outward-leaning walls of the building have thrown up other challenges for the construction team.  From the windows of the meeting room, in a building overlooking both the river and the V&A site, we could see the templates for the walls rising out of the mud.

The site, like all building sites, is surrounded by hoardings and the V&A directors have taken the decision to cover them in a series of designs.  The present one includes inventions made in Dundee or by Dundonians, such as the world’s first adhesive postage-stamp, the cash machine and keyhole surgery, and images of Desperate Dan, Keiller’s marmalade and jute rope – the foundations of Dundee’s prosperity in “jute, jam and journalism”. [Ed: and now a fourth J for Joysticks with Minecraft, Grand Theft Auto and in the early 1980’s ZX Spectrum]

Although the museum won’t open until 2018, the V&A team are already inspiring creativity, with the Schools Design Challenge for S1 pupils in Dundee and Angus, the Design in Motion bus tour of Scotland and the call for exhibition designers to submit proposals for the design of the Scottish Design Galleries at the new museum itself.

Dundee is clearly a buzzy, energetic city.  There’s a lot of business going on, as I discovered in the networking time after the presentations, with a raft of innovative companies who aren’t afraid to do things a bit differently.  It’s got a big future as well as a fascinating past.

Dundee & Angus Chamber of Commerce
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