$120 Million New Design Museum Opens in London This November

The museum will join the V&A and Science Museum in Kensington.

Design Museum Photo: Luke Hayes/ Design Museum
New Design Museum Building
Photo: Luke Hayes/ Design Museum

After much speculation, the new Design Museum in London announced on Friday that it will open its doors on November 24 as it makes a bid to do for design what the Tate Modern has done for contemporary art.

The £83 million (about $120 million) redesign of the 1960s Commonwealth Insitute building on Kensington High Street sees the museum move from the old banana warehouse in the historic dock area of Wapping, on the banks of the river Thames, to Kensington, where it joins internationally renowned London museums such as the V&A, the Science Museum and the Natural History Museum.

“This move will redefine the Design Museum as the most inspiring, exciting and engaging contemporary design and architecture museum in the world,” said Deyan Sudjic, director of the Design Museum in a statement.

“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,” he added, also pledging support for young, emerging designers.

Deyan Sudjic outside the new Design Museum Photo: courtesy Luke-Hayes

Deyan Sudjic outside the new Design Museum
Photo: courtesy Luke-Hayes/ Design Museum

The new 10,000 sqm museum space with a target of 650,000 visitors a year will open with its collection “Designer Maker User” which includes the Vespa Clubman by Piaggi, Shepard Fairey’s Obama Progress posters, and the first laptop computer the GRiD “Compass” by Bill Moggridge, and will be free of charge. The museum will also open with “Fear and Love: Reactions to a Complex World” for which there will be an entry charge.

Render of the interior of the Design Museum <br> Photo: Alex Morris/ Design Museum

Render of the interior of the Design Museum
Photo: Alex Morris / Design Museum

The John Pawson remodelled interior will include the Swarovski Foundation Centre for Learning, Bakala Auditorium, Sackler Library and Archive, and a Designers in Residence Studio, which will open with a showcase of the work of the 2016 Designers in Residence and a café.

There will also be a six-meter display of common household objects at the entrance of the museum which will be selected by the public via the Design Museum‘s website, marking the historic development in the history of the museum.

“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,” said design legend and museum founder Terance Conran. ”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.”


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