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The V&A Shop and Café in Dundee

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Ever been to a major gallery or museum where the thing that you remember most is the visit that you made to the restaurant, café or shop that awaited you at the end of your tour? The new outpost of the V&A museum in Dundee is a case in point.

This large and brand-new museum, it opened in September, is a fiercely iconoclastic piece of architecture and it’s not a bad repository for design. But both the café and the shop are in every way as interesting and appropriate as the large space that contains them.

The shop is housed in a space that looks, for all the world, like an auditorium with a polished marble floor, a glass and steel balustrade and irregular wooden tiles that are broken up by windows that let daylight in. The mid-shop display equipment and the ship’s mast-like perimeter fixture are in the same plain wood as the wooden tiles and the white wall that backs all of this reminds the visitor that this is still a museum.

The same ethos spills over into the adjacent café and restaurant where things are kept minimal in feel and where the wall that completes the space is glass, affording diners views out over the museum’s external structure.

This is one of those instances where you might actually be inclined to visit this one solely to enjoy tea and a piece of cake.