V&A Dundee opens with retail, cafe and restaurant designed by Lumsden

The new Kengo-Kuma designed £80 million V&A Dundee has opened its doors, with the retail, cafe and restaurant areas designed by Lumsden. Briefed to create a ‘living room for the city’, Lumsden designed flexible, welcoming, inspirational spaces that will be a meeting place for the local community and museum visitors alike. Lumsden’s scheme complements Kuma’s stunning architecture, both referencing Dundee’s proud ship building heritage.


Located in the main hall, the café and shop play a key role in welcoming visitors into the museum. They will be a destination in their own right and an integral part of a visit to the galleries and exhibitions. Lumsden designed them with an open plan aesthetic to add to the social dimension of the hall.

Lumsden has designed flexible schemes for both the café and shop, enabling them to be reconfigured for a variety of uses. The 74-cover café has different zones featuring a mix of low seating, small dining tables and large communal tables. Seating arrangements can be adapted for bigger groups.


The shop next to the café boasts a selection of the best of Scottish design, museum-led merchandise, local produce and designer pieces. Lumsden’s bespoke merchandising furniture provides flexibility for units to be pushed back when the main hall is used for events.


Looking out onto the River Tay, the restaurant on the second floor has 114 covers inside and another 36 on the terrace. The stylish, contemporary scheme is adaptable to change for the evolving needs of diners from morning through lunch and onto a bar-based offer in the evening.

A combination of European oak, blackened steel, textiles and bespoke concrete has ben specified across all three areas. The white concrete was mixed with mussel shells, cast in bespoke forms and then polished to reveal their whites, blacks, greys and blues. The concrete pays homage to the River Tay’s endangered freshwater pearl mussel and is used in the café, restaurant and on the shop’s cash wrap desk.


Graphic point of sale displays deploy Mirrl, a unique material custom made in small batches by a Glasgow company of the same name. The material has a distinct organic pattern and is made using a technique inspired by Japanese lacquerware from the island of Hokkaido. The unique nine-layer creation uses colours from the V&A Dundee palette including pale grey and midnight blue.

'The whole team at Lumsden is incredibly proud of what we have created at V&A Dundee. It has been a joy to work with such inspiring spaces in such an inspirational building. We can’t wait to see how V&A Dundee’s visitors experience their new museum and enjoy the café, restaurant and shop alongside the galleries and the architecture,' says Callum Lumsden, founder of Lumsden.

V&A Dundee is Scotland’s first design museum and the only V&A museum in the world outside of London.

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