V&A Dundee:
Living Room for the City

Kengo Kuma, the architect of V&A Museum of Design, Dundee described the building as a ‘Living Room for the City’, and this was a theme V&A Dundee took forward for their very first community engagement project.

Initially, people were invited to digitally share images of their much loved social spaces, and this ‘Living Room’ theme was to be explored further with communities across the city within a series of ‘Drop In and Design’ workshops touring community spaces. The aim was for the people of Dundee to realise their potential as designers, by engaging in the act of making.

Linsey, alongside Sooz Gordon; and Peter Ananin and Jen Robinson from community-led project Skill Share Dundee, collaborated with V&A Dundee to form the creative development and facilitation team. The team developed a ‘light’ theme for the workshops, emerging from lamps being a prominent living room feature, while also having connections to socialising, celebrating, warmth, reflection and conviviality. A kit of parts was developed, including cardboard and polypropylene shapes, to allow free reign over form in order for participants to feel empowered to design and construct a unique illuminated object. The lights were also a communication tool as participants could adorn them with words that reflected the essence of their living room, before learning how to wire LEDs to ensure their object came to life. Participants were encouraged to showcase their designs online by sharing images of their light in pride of place at home.

Ten two hour workshops were delivered, engaging people of all ages and abilities, resulting in hundreds of illuminated objects being designed and made. At the end of the tour, all those who took part were invited to showcase their designs at the ‘Living Room for the City’ exhibition at Abertay University’s Hannah Maclure Centre.