The eyes of the world will be on Dundee for the next few days, as the V&A finally opens the doors to its new £80 million design museum on the city’s Waterfront.
After months of anticipation fuelled by teaser images, artists’ impressions and 3D fly-through videos, the media was given its first look at the inside of Kengo Kuma’s distinctive structure.
Journalists and television crews from across the globe were are all in Dundee for the great unveiling.
The V&A’s tourism officer Alice Kennedy said journalists from China, Japan, Canada, America, France, Spain and Germany were due to visit the museum over the next few days.
Alice said: “We expected media interest from all over the world but this is exceeding our expectations.
“Foreign journalists here will be spreading the word about the museum across the globe.
“There is a huge interest in the museum and in Dundee as a result.
“We are confident this will help to bring thousands of visitors to the city.”
Hiroyuki Kikko from Nippon Television in Tokyo said interest in the museum went beyond the fact it was built by a Japanese architect.
He said: “We’re here because of Kengo Kuma’s involvement and we want to announce the museum to Japanese people.
“We hope our broadcasts will encourage Japanese visitors to come to Dundee.
“This museum has captured global interest. That’s why we’re here.”
Tristan De Bourbon Parme from Le Journal des Arts in Paris said the museum had surpassed expectations.
“There was a perception that it would be an extension of the V&A in London but now I understand that is not the case, and that this is a significant museum in its own right,” he said.
“I’m sure this is going to draw visitors from all over the world.
“It is an amazing asset for Dundee to have. It will surely become a major tourist attraction and I can definitely see people from France coming to visit.
“Dundee has become very well known on the international stage recently and there’s no doubt the museum has played a major part in that.
“I’ve been in Dundee a couple of times before and each time I come I see another change and development.”
If the shape of the outside of the museum is difficult for people to get their heads around, the inside is even more mind-boggling.
The walls are lined with wood panels, in stark contrast to the concrete exterior, and the floor is made of Irish limestone.
There are thousands of fossilised remains set in the stone, in a further nod to Kuma’s love of the natural world.
But just like the outside, the interior building twists and turns as you walk through it, with not one straight wall in sight.
As you make your way from the entrance, which is virtually hidden at the far end of the building, into the main reception area, the building opens up – and a grand staircase takes you up to the vast exhibition spaces.
Speaking at the unveiling of his masterpiece, Kuma said: “I am truly in love with the Scottish landscape and nature – I was inspired by the cliffs of north east Scotland.
“I hope the museum can change the city and become its centre of gravity.”
Dundee City Council leader John Alexander said: “This building has made a significant impact on Dundee even before it has opened.
“It signifies a renewed confidence, a renewed pride and a fire in the belly.
“For too long our city has been seen as a poor relation but that is changing.
“The people of Dundee have bought into the cultural led regeneration and they see this building as theirs.”
Following the visits by journalists, a select group of people – who won competitions run by DC Thomson, including the Evening Telegraph – will become the first members of the public to get inside the museum on Friday for an exclusive tour.
Then on Saturday the building opens up fully, with those who were successful in securing tickets becoming the first official visitors to the attraction.
Sunday is also ticket-only, before the free-to-enter museum begins normal operations on Monday – though visitors will have to pay for certain exhibitions.