London’s Landmark Modernist Design Museum Opens This Week

Could this be the ultimate design collaboration?

Studio Azzurro part of
Studio Azzurro part of "Designer, Maker, User" at the Design Museum. Courtesy Memphis Milano

London’s Design Museum opens the doors of its new South Kensington home near some of London’s most famous museums including the Victoria and Albert Museum, the Natural History Museum, and the Science Museum on Thursday, November 24.

The landmark 1960s modernist building boasts 10,000 square feet of space, making it three times the size of its previous riverside home in Shad Thames, in a project totaling £83 million ($102 million).

Architect John Pawson, and Rem Koolhaas’ OMA studio re-designed the building’s interior, while Allies and Morrison, and Arup collectively restored the building’s roof and façade.

“In conceiving a future for one of London’s modernist buildings, we pay tribute to a period that continues to inform contemporary architecture,” Reinier de Graaf, a partner at OMA, said in a statement.

The new Design Museum at night. Photo Gareth Gardener courtesy the Design Museum

The new Design Museum at night. Photo by Gareth Gardener, courtesy of the Design Museum

Studio Myerscough designed the permanent collection display, the member’s room and restaurant is by Universal Design Studio, the furniture provided by Vitra, shelving by Vitsoe, the lighting is designed by Concord, and flooring by Dinesen.

‘This project is important not just for the museum but for the investment in the creative future that it represents,” director of the Design Museum Deyan Sudjic said in a statement.” The Design Museum sees design as borderless, international in scope and a vital means of understanding the world around us,’ he added.

The opening exhibition will be “Fear and Love”, consisting of a series of 11 installations from luminaries such as Hussein Chalayan, OMA, and Muji’s Kenja Hara, among others.

This will be exhibited with the permanent collection, “Designer, Maker, User”, which will be free of charge to visitors. Made up of three sections, the “Designer, User, Maker” display will incorporate all aspects of design, from usual suspects like the London Tube map and David Mellor’s traffic lights to cars, robotic arms, and, of course, fashion.

“The museum’s collection display is not a chronological timeline or simply a collection of design’s greatest hits,” explains Sudjic. “We are investigating what objects and products mean, and demonstrating to our visitors that the story behind how they are made is as important as their final appearance.”

Now neighboring the V&A and the Science Museum, the newly renovated museum is raising the bar on what it provides its visitors. There is no lack of appetite for great design, so let’s hope the museum can meet the expectation that awaits it.


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