V&A Dundee

Turner Prize winners Assemble reveal Dundee project

12 February 2020

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V&A Dundee is working with architecture collective Assemble, the museum’s new designers in residence, on a project taking inspiration from historic buildings in Dundee and is today (12 February) calling for young people to contribute.

Throughout the summer Assemble, V&A Dundee and Dundee's Central Library will be working in close collaboration with a group of local people. Through a series of workshops the group will produce a new interior room inspired by local architecture. This will take shape from 21 March within the galleries, before being moved to the Central Library later this year where it will function as an area for digital learning and making for the city.

During the six-month design residency Assemble will explore the relationship between contemporary production techniques and traditional building crafts, inspired by historic architecture in Dundee.

From today (12 February) in the Residency Studio at V&A Dundee, Assemble will present samples, tests and experiments from a range of previous projects. They will then use the galleries from 21 March where collaborators will be introduced to a variety of skills and techniques throughout a summer programme of workshops and events, exploring the intersection of traditional skills and new approaches to making.

Young people from Dundee will work with digital scanning and modelling, traditional and contemporary production techniques and serial fabrication. Digital tools will record architectural details from significant local buildings to create replicas, fabricate moulds and produce cast panels that will be arranged to form a new interior for Dundee.

As part of the residency, Assemble is looking for young people aged 16-25 who would like to take part in this exciting project, working with experienced designers and makers to uncover the fascinating architecture and craft in local buildings. No experience of digital design or physical making is required, only an interest in learning new skills. Anyone interested in taking part should contact info@vandadundee.org

James Binning from Assemble said: “It is becoming increasingly challenging to understand how things are made, from the everyday products we use to the buildings we inhabit. The role of craft has changed from a means of cultural communication towards an exclusive kind of luxury that is disconnected from civic society and the world around us.

“Our residency with V&A Dundee, and the construction of a new room for Dundee’s Central Library, will reconnect with this belief in the capacity of design and contemporary craft to invest meaning, knowledge and skills in a public space in the centre of the city. Our vision is to enable a new generation to become skilled producers inspired by the past, not simply consumers of design.”

Sophie McKinlay, V&A Dundee Director of Programme, said: “Dundee has a history of incredible architecture and design, and working with Assemble, the Central Library and local young people will help us to create a new space which celebrates this history.

“We are excited to share traditional and digital skills through this project, helping us to give young people important knowledge and experience, as well as creating a remarkable new room which allows visitors to V&A Dundee – and later the Central Library – to engage with this history as well and recognise its potential.”

Maureen Hood, Information Services Section Leader at Dundee Libraries, said: "Our libraries are committed to working with our communities to develop valuable skills, so this joint partnership project is a great fit for us.

“Bringing together the quality and talent of V&A Dundee and Assemble with the energy and enthusiasm of young people in the city means that we have a great chance to produce something quite special here. We really can't wait to get started and enhance Dundee's design credentials even further.”

The project will take inspiration from the extraordinary quality of craftsmanship and production invested in the historic fabric of public buildings in Dundee. The resulting space will be designed and fabricated so it can be moved and installed in the Central Library at the end of the residency.

The project takes Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Oak Room as a point of inspiration, the historic interior from Miss Cranston's Ingram Street Glasgow tearoom. Now on display at the heart of the Scottish Design Galleries at V&A Dundee, it was moved as a room from Glasgow to Dundee for the opening of the new museum.

V&A Dundee will act as both a classroom and open studio during the residency where participants can develop new skills, and as a repository of knowledge and techniques.

Once completed, Dundee’s Central Library will become the home for the new structure to show how contemporary digital techniques can explore the city’s rich architectural history and the skills of craftspeople.

This project is generously supported by the players of People’s Postcode Lottery.