Design Museum © Gravity Road
25 November 2016
by Monique Ricketts
The new Design Museum officially opened on Thursday 24th November in its new home on Kensington High Street, designed by John Pawson.
The Museum is housed in a landmark grade II* listed modernist building from the 1960s that has been sensitively retuned by John Pawson, the project is the culmination of a five-year construction process. The museum has now tripled to 10,000sqm from its previous premise in Shad Thames, south-east London. Following an investment of £83m, the structure has been transformed for its future role as the world’s leading institution dedicated to contemporary design and architecture.
OMA, Allies and Morrison and Arup have restored the building’s spectacular concrete roof and distinctive facade. Remodeling the interior, John Pawson has created a series of calm, atmospheric spaces ordered around an oak-lined atrium, incorporating key elements from the original structure. The project has seen some of the world’s leading designers, manufacturers and patrons come together to create a new global hub for contemporary design. With architectural and structural expertise from OMA, Allies and Morrison and Arup, a permanent collection display designed by Studio Myerscough, a restaurant and members’ room by Universal Design Studio, a Centre for Learning made possible by the Swarovski Foundation, flooring by Dinesen, furniture by Vitra, shelving by Vitsoe, lighting by Concord, a visual identity by Studio Fernando Gutierrez and way-finding by Cartlidge Levene, the new Design Museum is an outstanding example of interdisciplinary collaboration.
Situated on the museum's top floor, the new permanent collection, Designer Maker User, is a result of Studio Myerscough and exhibition curator Alex Newson's work over the last five years. It features a hand-picked selection of the Design Museum’s 8,000-strong product archive and displays almost 1000 objects viewed from the perspectives of designer, manufacturer and user. Standout pieces include a 1:1 scale model of the new London tube train, the British road signage system, an AK47 and an interactive digital fashion display. For the first time in the museum's history, this exhibition will be free to visit.
This space also includes a crowd-sourced wall, where selected designs were submitted by visitors and Design Museum fans through social media with an aim to break down boundaries between designer and consumer. This wall will alternate products frequently, as more people submit their ideas.