V&A-backed museum in China gathers pace

Director appointed for the Shekou Design Museum
Profile image for Gareth Harris
Gareth Harris
The Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) in London is moving ahead with plans to help develop the Shekou Design Museum in Shenzhen, southern China, which is to open at the end of next year.

Ole Bouman, the former director of the Netherlands Architecture Institute, has been appointed director of the new museum, which will house galleries for temporary exhibitions and displays drawn from the V&A’s collections.

The Shekou Design Museum is a joint project developed in partnership with China Merchants Group, a Hong Kong-based conglomerate. The company’s property arm, China Merchants Property Development Company, is driving the project. The V&A signed a five-year collaboration agreement with China Merchants Group last year.

“With this new collaboration, the V&A is entering for the first time in [to] a multi-year partnership with important Chinese business players… to support the development of China’s first major design museum in Shenzhen,” said Anaïs Aguerre, the V&A’s head of international initiatives, in a statement posted on the museum website last year.

“The new museum aims at promoting Chinese design to an international audience, as well as presenting the best international design in China,” she said, adding that the V&A will play an advisory role in helping the Shekou Design Museum develop its own collections and provide training for the museum’s senior management team.

Luisa Elena Mengoni, a senior curator at the V&A, has been appointed head of the V&A Gallery, Shekou; she began working in Shenzhen last October on a three-year secondment.

The museum will be part of the 70,000 sq-metre Sea World Arts and Culture Centre designed by the Tokyo-based architect Fumihiko Maki. The centre will also house a branch of the Guanfu Museum and a retail area.

Under director Martin Roth, the V&A continues to expand its empire beyond its South Kensington base. A V&A exhibition space is planned for the Olympicopolis culture hub in Stratford, east London, while the satellite venue, the V&A Museum of Design Dundee, is expected to open in 2017.

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