ITS contents have been a closely guarded secret for the past few months but yesterday V&A Dundee opened its doors to reveal the interior of the £80 million design museum – the first of its type in Scotland.

The stunning building includes a major exhibition space and the permanent Scottish Design Galleries, at the heart of which is the jewel in V&A Dundee’s crown, Charles Rennie Mackintosh’s Oak Room, painstakingly reconstructed after being hidden from view for nearly half a century.

The National:

An interior shot of the new V&A Dundee museum

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The interior of Miss Cranston’s Ingram Street tearoom – the only surviving suite of interiors from a complex dating to the turn of the 20th century – have been loaned to the new establishment by Glasgow Museums for 25 years.

Ocean Liners: Speed and Style, part of the museum’s international exhibition programme, is the first to explore the design and cultural impact of these vessels on a world scale, and re-imagines the golden age of ocean travel.

It illustrates how Scottish design and the Clyde shipyards – the most important centre for building these floating cities – helped the development of such luxury ships.

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Ghislaine Wood, its curator, said: “This exhibition has been four years in the making, and from the outset research for the V&A Dundee played a key role in its development.

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Another shot from inside the museum

“Ocean Liners: Speed and Style highlights how Scottish design and engineering innovation was at the centre of the spectacular evolution the ocean liner.

“It is truly fitting that it is the first V&A Dundee exhibition.”

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Highlights of the exhibition include Stanley Spencer’s painting The Riveters, from the 1941 series Shipbuilding on the Clyde, commissioned by the British Government to record industries involved in the Second World War.

It takes us back to the days of demarcation of labour in the yards, reflecting the huge and highly-skilled workforces involved in the construction of liners.

The exhibition also features an array of fashion items, including a Christian Dior suit worn by actress Marlene Dietrich when she arrived in New York on the Queen Elizabeth in 1950.

Over in the Scottish Design Galleries, more clothing is on show – a 1995 suit in Harris Tweed by Vivienne Westwood and a 1968 ski ensemble, comprising a sweater by Pringle of Scotland and ski pants by Croydor of Switzerland.

Philip Long, director of V&A Dundee, said it was an historic occasion for Dundee, for the museum and the people who had helped make it a reality. “V&A Dundee’s aspiration is to enrich lives, helping people to enjoy, be inspired by and find new opportunities through understanding the designed world,” he said.

The National:

Looking out from the museum

“After years of planning, we are thrilled to be able to celebrate the realisation of the first V&A museum in the world outside London.

“The museum’s light-filled wooden interior and impressive spaces inside have been designed to provide a warm welcome to visitors, described by architect Kengo Kuma as a ‘living room for the city.’”

Kuma’s design was inspired by the cliffs of the north-east of Scotland, and he confessed to being a fan of Mackintosh: “It is also fitting that the restored Oak Room by Charles Rennie Mackintosh is at the heart of this building as I have greatly admired his designs since I was a student. I hope the museum can change the city and become its centre of gravity.”