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New man at V&A falls for Daniel Libeskind's Spiral

The new director of the Victoria & Albert Museum has declared himself 'smitten' with Daniel Libeskind's design for the Spiral extension, putting paid to fears that a new broom might sweep away the controversial project.

Mark Jones was recruited last week from the National Museums of Scotland for the £100,000-a-year post, beating competition from Timothy Clifford, who was expected to oppose the Spiral.

'As an outsider, I admire Daniel Libeskind's work very much and from what I've seen of it [the Spiral], I'm smitten. I would like to see it built, ' he said, before adding a note of caution. 'I'm not sure how immediately practicable that would be.'

The £80 million Spiral already has planning permission and is being financed by private funding which has so far reached £31 million.

Jones expects to start work in the summer and is due to oversee the introduction of two new permanent architecture collections at the V&A. These are a home for the RIBA drawings collection in the Henry Cole Wing and a higher-profile 'Architecture for All' gallery.

'I can't say about where resources should go but broadly, the V&A and RIBA collaboration seems a very good thing, ' he said. 'My view is that understanding contemporary design is very important, from architecture to product design, because it seems that the future of the economy as a whole is likely to be linked to the degree to which we are creative. The V&A needs to be at the heart of education about design.'

Jones has worked with Benson & Forsyth on the Museum of Scotland and currently with Page & Park on the Museum of Scottish Country Life.

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