The Design Museum is set to open at its new location of Kensington High Street on the 24th November. As the result on an £83 million transformation, the museum will now be housed in a listed landmark building from the 1960s.
Set to be the world’s leading museum devoted to architecture and design, its work encompasses all elements of design, including fashion, product and graphic design. Since it opened its doors in 1989 the museum has displayed everything from a Formula One car to Lady Gaga’s Gareth Pugh-designed bin bag dress. It has welcomed over five million visitors and showcased the work of some of the world’s most celebrated designers including Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Ive, Miuccia Prada and Frank Gehry.
Marking a landmark moment for the museum, its relocation will see it have a free permanent display for the very first time of its collection Designer Maker User, the story of contemporary design through these three interconnected roles. A wall at the entrance to the gallery will feature some of the world’s most popular affordable consumer goods, crowdsourced from the public via the museum’s website.
Including many iconic designs, the collection’s highlights cover varied pieces such as the Vespa Clubman designed by Corradino d’Ascanio and made by Piaggio; Ettore Sottass and Perry King’s Valentine typewriter for Olivetti; the Obama ‘Progress’ poster by Shepard Fairy; Mikhail Kalashnikov’s AK47 assault rifle and Ossie Clarke and Celia Birtwell’s Paper dress.
The museum’s first exhibition at its new location will be Fear and Love: Reactions to a Complex World. Set to feature a series of newly commissioned installations, Fear and Love is an insight into our hopes and doubts about the pace and impact of change. The flagship Designs of the Year show will also be making a return for its ninth outing.
Sir Terence Conran, founder of the Design Museum said: “If you forced me to pick the single most rewarding achievement in my long design career then I would not hesitate to say founding the Design Museum in London. It was a hugely important moment for design in the UK at the time and for me personally. Since 1989 the museum has always led the way and been the first to show some of the work and inspirations of many of the most important designers and architects on the planet. Today, we are about to move from Shad Thames to new, bigger premises in Kensington, where all our dreams and ambitions to create the best and most important design museum in the world will become a step closer to reality. It will make my long lifetime in design absolutely worthwhile.”
A former Commonwealth Institute building, the new site has had the interior remodelled by acclaimed designer John Pawson. The project on the Grade II* listed building has increased the museum’s size threefold, helping to hugely extend the learning programme and enabling a much greater range of exhibitions. The Design Museum has also announced noteworthy partnerships with Vitra, whose furniture will be used throughout and with Phaidon, who will publish books to accompany the museum’s major exhibitions, alongside a new guide to and history of the Design Museum. The museum’s recently relaunched multi-award winning website has been created with Fabrique, in a year which also saw the Design Museum become the most followed museum in the world on Twitter.
Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum said: “This move will redefine the Design Museum as the most inspiring, exciting and engaging contemporary design and architecture museum in the world, with 10,000sqm of space, and a target of 650,000 visitors each year. Design is the way to ask questions about what technology is doing to us, to explore how the world will look and work as well as to define new aesthetic approaches. The museum will have a challenging programme that encourages new work and new thinking, and the touring, digital and publications programme will take the message around the world. The museum will nurture new generations of designers and continue its history of recognising and supporting emerging design talent.”
Wilmott Dixon Interiors were awarded the fit out contract for the building and Concord have worked with the museum to design the building’s lighting scheme and highlight its architectural features. The developer of the site, a joint venture between Chelsfield LLP and the Ilchester Estate, has donated the building and land, together with the cost of refurbishing the shell and core of the building. The Heritage Lottery Fund have supported the project with a grant of £4.9 million. Arts Council England haver supported the project with a capital grant of £3 million.
Head to the Design Museum for more information on upcoming exhibitions and how you can become a member.