MUSEUMS & GALLERIES
The Design Museum has inspired its visitors for nearly three decades and now it’s moving to Kensington to fire up another generation, says
As The Design Museum reopens following an £83million makeover, we take a look at its groundbreaking new home in Kensington.
After almost 30 years in Bermondsey, London’s much-loved Design Museum is on the move.
On 24 November, the new Design Museum opens its doors in Kensington (above) following a £83m transformation of the Commonwealth Institute, a listed landmark from the 1960s. With three times more space than its original address and an ambitious programme of exhibitions, it is tipped to become the world’s leading museum of design and architecture.
For the first time in the museum’s history, there will be a free permanent display of its famous collection, called Designer Maker User. Get up close to the consumer goods that wowed the world including a Vespa Clubman, an Olivetti Valentine typewriter (above) and a Sony TPS-L2 Walkman. Discover pioneering designs in all shapes and sizes, from the Obama ‘Progress’ poster to the GRiD ‘Compass’, one of the first laptop computers, both of which are on display. If you think you’ve seen it all when it comes to ‘fast fashion’, wait until you see Celia Birtwell and Ossie Clark’s throwaway paper dress. The new museum seeks to tell stories through design. Its first major exhibition FearandLove: ReactionstoaComplexWorld features installations that explore our hopes and doubts about the impact of change. The third gallery will exhibit the museum’s flagship show Designsof theYear. A coffee cup for astronauts, David Bowie’s Blackstar album cover and a sexual health kit are on show. Sir Terence Conran, one of the most important designers of the past century, says: ‘If you forced me to pick the single most rewarding achievement in my long career, then I would say founding The Design Museum. Since 1989 it has always led the way.’ Now it’s destined to inspire new generations to think big about design. For full listing, turn to p. 35