New film explores links between V&A Dundee, the Olympics and a Highland whisky

A new film exploring the links between Dundee's iconic V&A museum, the Olympic Games and one of Scotland's leading malt whisky brands has been unveiled.

Thursday, 16th September 2021, 11:59 pm
Updated Friday, 17th September 2021, 12:04 am

The waterfront attraction’s Japanese architect Kengo Kuma, who also designed the new stadium created for the recent Tokyo Olympics, has a starring role in the new film.

It compares his ethos and style to that of Richard Paterson, the master distiller at The Dalmore distillery, on the banks of the Cromarty Firth.

The new promotional film is expected to raise the global profile of the museum, which opened to the public three years ago this week and has already attracted more than a million visitors. The film has been unveiled ahead of the sale at auction in Hong Kong of a rare collection of the Highland malt, which is expected to land V&A a huge windfall.

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Dalmore Distillery is based in Alness, on the banks of the Cromarty Firth.

In the film, Kuma reveals his childhood inspiration to be an architect came when he attended the 1964 Tokyo Olympics with his father.

Made by Edinburgh-based Stroma Films, it is the first joint project to emerge since an official partnership between V&A and The Dalmore was unveiled last year.

The Dalmore, which dates back to 1839, has agreed to donate 15 per cent of the hammer price generated by the only complete set of The Dalmore Decades bottles, dating from 1951, 1967, 1979, 1980, 1995 and 2000.

It is being auctioned by Sotheby’s, with an official estimate of £350,000, but may sell for more than £500,000 due to its unique nature.

V&A Dundee's architect Kengo Kuma features in the new short film.

The four-year collaboration between V&A Dundee and The Dalmore was billed as “a celebration of design, creativity and vision” when it was announced last November.

V&A Dundee, which Kuma won an international competition to design in 2010, was given national status by the Scottish Government in March, as well as a new £6 million funding deal.

Speaking on the new film, the architect, whose design for V&A Dundee was inspired by the sea cliffs found in nearby Arbroath, said: “My grandfather was a very quiet person. He didn’t speak a lot, but we could communicate.

"He loved to live with nature. His quietness and wisdom is the basis of my creation.

V&A Dundee opened to the public three years ago this week.

“Personality of material is very important. Before the 1990s, every design of mine came from my style. But after, the line I draw comes from the material itself.

“If I hear the voice of material carefully, it can teach me many things. I'm always thinking about 100 years after.

"The ageing adds some taste to the building. Without ageing, the building is not happy. The stretch of time is not my enemy.”

V&A director Leonie Bell said: “Kengo Kuma and Richard Paterson are both remarkable, creative individuals and it’s hugely exciting to bring The Dalmore, V&A Dundee, our wonderful architect Kengo Kuma, and Stroma Films together to jointly create this short film in celebration of our partnership and of the time it takes to create true excellence.

Whisky brand Dalmore has joined forces with V&A Dundee to create a new short film, the first major project of a four-year partnership.

“Kengo Kuma’s design for V&A Dundee is fascinating, because his architecture engages so closely with nature, with the changing weather and seasons, and also looks ahead to how buildings age and mature.

"The strong concrete exterior both protects from the elements, but will also change over time, recognising his belief that architecture must always be respectful and humble to nature.”

Mr Paterson, who hosted an exclusive tasting of the The Dalmore Decades collection at V&A Dundee ahead of the launch of the film, said: “This collection is a memento of our 180-year history in the making.

"We’re proud to share the pinnacle of six decades of whisky making, the result of potential earned and honed over time.”

Gerry Tosh, rare whisky director at The Dalmore, said: “We have no idea what the collection will sell for, but we do think it could potentially go for a lot more than the .£350,000 based on the huge increase in demand for rare whisky.”