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V&A and Maki to create China's first major museum of design

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The Victoria & Albert Museum (V&A) has revealed proposals by Japanese star Fumihiko Maki for a new design museum in the city of Shenzhen

The agreement with the China Merchants Group (CMG) will see the UK organisation work as an adviser on the flagship building which will house a gallery dedicated to displays from the V&A’s collections.

Planned to open at the end of 2016 in the Shekou district of Shenzhen, the museum has a wider remit to promote Chinese design to an international audience and bring the best international design to the country.

The collaboration agreement was signed by David Cameron and Chinese Premier Li Keqaing during Li’s first visit to the UK and forms part of a package of deals between the UK and China worth an estimated £16billion.

Projects which are also believed to be on the table include Chinese investment into High Speed 2 and the next generation of nuclear power stations.

The new museum is planned to open at the end of 2016 in the Shekou district of Shenzhen. Shenzhen is one of the fastest-growing cities in China and has plans to become an international hub for the creative industries.

Though the V&A has not worked directly with Maki to design the museum, it will play an advisory role in helping the Shekou Museum develop its own collections and provide training for Shekou Museum’s senior management team. A senior curator from the V&A will take part in a three-year secondment in Shenzhen to work as Head of the Shekou V&A Partnership in China.

Tim Reeve, V&A’s Chief Operating Officer said: ‘This is an incredibly exciting project for the V&A. It builds on the long history the V&A has of working in and with China to share collections, knowledge and expertise.

‘By working with our trusted partner, CMG, we are able to engage in a meaningful and financially sustainable way with one of the most dynamic design cities in the world at a time when China is emerging at the forefront of new design ideas and creative thinking’.

A Memorandum of Understanding between CMG and V&A was signed in Beijing in December 2013 as part of the Prime Minister, David Cameron’s visit to China. Of the project he said: ‘This pioneering collaboration between the world’s leading museum of art and design and China Merchants Group is a fine example of British expertise fostering fruitful bi-lateral partnerships which contribute to the growth of the creative economy.

‘I wish this innovative endeavour to be a resounding success and I applaud the leading role China Merchants Group and the V&A are playing in strengthening China-UK cultural relationships.’

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