The new Design Museum

After catching the end of a documentary last night (I ashamedly was oblivious before this) we decided to head along to The “new” Design Museum. It now resides in Kensington (the central hub for museums) in the former residence of the Commonwealth Institute of West London. This landmark from the 1960s, a Grade II* listed building, had stood vacant for over a decade.

It was developed by a design team led by John Pawson who has made the building fit for a 21st century museum, whilst at the same time retaining impressive spatial qualities. It was the helping hand of the great, Sir Terence Conran, which enabled the Museum to up sticks and move from its former residence near Tower Bridge, donating a very cool £17.5 million to the project.
This museum has it all. One for all the family to enjoy, and (as you’d expect) very well designed! We only went for a wander around the permanent exhibitions. A main staircase from the atrium gives access to all floors and offers views to the first and second floors and the hyperbolic paraboloid roof- quite a feast for the eyes!

Views of that special roof!

Showcasing the spectacular museum roof, Designer Maker User devotes itself exclusively to contemporary design and architecture. It captures nearly 1000 key objects throughout the decades from the museum’s collection, as well as a crowdsourced wall. From fashion design, to graphics and engineering it covers a broad spectrum of design from the 20th and 21st Century. It’s a very informative and engaging exhibition. From the development of the beloved anglepoise lamp, right through to 3D printing technology and the evolution of apple products across the ages. It’s a great interconnecting space with a strong, well thought, out theme running throughout.

Crowd-sourced wall, Designer Maker User.
Installation framework and punchy timber text.
Close-up of tactile cork wall finish.

Another exhibition includes one other permanent gallery called Designers in Residence where designers are asked to respond to this year’s theme “Open.” Look out for the coat made entirely of hair…
The ground floor also houses the largest gallery in the new Design Museum, which showcases a programme of temporary exhibitions, including: Fear and Love and the Beazley Designs of the Year. The cafe, at a glance, looked inviting and the shop, which I more than browsed, was full of great gift ideas perfect for the upcoming festivities.

Go and check it out for yourselves.


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