We all know Captain Robert Falcon Scott as one of the tragic heroes of the heroic age of polar exploration: in 1912 he reached the South Pole, only to discover that the Norwegian Amundsen had beaten him to it. Scott and his companions did not survive the return trip. Scott’s polar career had already started in 1901, when he set off on a scientific expedition in the legendary ship the Discovery.
The V&A Museum in London is opening a new museum next year specially for Scottish design, in the coastal city Dundee, the fourth largest city of Scotland. The huge building on the river Tay is the outcome of an international competition won by the Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who is also designing Tokyo’s Olympic stadium for 2020. The V&A is also one of the founding institutions of a new design museum, Design Society, which is to open this October in the Chinese city of Shenzen.
At a cost of £81 million pounds the new V&A Dundee is already 80 per cent over budget, and will open four years later than anticipated. No wonder the museum is not yet giving a date for the opening next year. Nevertheless, it is the linchpin of Dundee’s regeneration through culture and the arts, together with its lively scene for the creators of video games. Dundee is now a serious contender for the European Cultural Capital of 2023. ‘The ugly-duckling city comes of age’, was the headline of a piece in The Times in July.
For Harvard Graduate School of Design I wrote a blog about the cycling mayor in Amsterdam.
Urban cycling is all the rage in cities nowadays. For tourists it’s a fun way of seeing the city, for locals in cities that are not used to bikes it is a form of transport activism. In Amsterdam, it’s utilitarian; biking is simply the cheapest and quickest way to get around. Not in lycra, but in high heels or a business suit, or with groceries in front and a child in back.
New trend: souvenirs are the new outlet for designers. It dawned on me when I attended a talk by Scottish curator Stacey Hunter at the exhibition design Language during the Milan Designweek about her project Local Heroes in Edinburgh last year. She invited nine designers to create souvenirs that went beyond the heritage clichés. It reminded me of a Dutch project by designer Elmo Vermijs, 100% Terschelling, which is in the running for one of this year’s Dutch Design Awards.
Zo traag als de ruimtelijke ordening is – door minister Pronk en anderen ooit vergeleken met een mammoettanker – zo vingervlug is de technologie. Waar de ruimtelijke ordening jaaaaaren nodig heeft om tot een besluit te komen, en dan nog wat jaren voordat het eindproduct er is, kan het verhaal van de totstandkoming in luttele minuten worden verteld. Drones, timelapse, fotomontage: ze zijn een geschenk aan de ruimtelijke ordening.
The Spanish artist Fernando Sánchez Castillo is fascinated by power and its counterpart, the abuse of power. And so he is fascinated by dictators, not lastly Spain’s own Franco. I interviewed him earlier this year for NRC about his impressive exhibition in Den Bosch, where he showed a most unusual relic: two of Franco’s eyelashes.
Sánchez was in Amsterdam recently for the Art Weekend. At his gallery Tegenboschvanvreden he showed his most recent project, about a bloody confrontation between students and police in 1968 in the Mexican new town of Tlatelolco.