The beautiful new Design Museum opens on November 24th on the site of the old Commonwealth Institute just off Kensington High St.
I was lucky enough to be invited to the press preview for this sure to be iconic building, a renovation of the older iconic and listed building whose outer shell and parabolic roof it retains.
I visited the original quite a few times in my younger days and always loved the open atrium and modern essence of the architecture, although the displays became very dated the building was always a delight and the redesign by John Pawson has given the interior a church like sense of calm and peacefulness. As Sir Terence Conran, the founder of the original Design Museum in Shad Thames, told us ”This is the best moment of my life….. so far!” followed with ” I’d like to move in here”
Currently two design exhibitions are open, on the ground floor ‘Fear and Love’ reactions to a complex world and on the upper floor ‘Designer, maker, user’ a more traditional look at pure design of the everyday item.
They are almost an afterthought though for those visiting the museum for the first time will be happy just to explore the beautiful lines and staircases, ponder on the walkways overlooking the atrium and maybe stop for a drink in one of the museums cafe’s or restaurant then browse the design shop.
The new Design Museum is the new home of British design, not just a museum it also has workshop spaces, a library, artists in residence, a lecture theatre and much more. Next weekend is open weekend 25th – 27th November with free workshops, talks and performances for all ages.