Design Museum Director Deyan Sudjic, designer John Pawson and OMA architect Reinier de Graaf presented the Design Museum’s plans to relocate from its current home at Shad Thames, by Tower Bridge, to Kensington, West London to the international press at a briefing ahead of the opening of the Architecture Biennale in Venice.
The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to architecture and contemporary design. Opened in 1989 by Sir Terence Conran, the museum celebrates all forms of design and has hosted exhibitions of the most important pioneers of design including Charles and Ray Eames, Zaha Hadid, Jonathan Ive, Christian Louboutin, Dieter Rams and Sir Paul Smith.
The Design Museum will open its doors in Kensington in 2016, welcoming thousands of visitors to its new home, the Grade II* listed former Commonwealth Institute building. The museum takes possession of the site in October 2014 to begin its fit out.
The move will give the museum three times more space, provide free access to its outstanding collection, extend its learning and exhibition programme and place the museum in Kensington’s cultural quarter, where it will join the V&A, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal College of Art and Serpentine Gallery.
World-class designers and architects are involved in creating the new Design Museum. Designer John Pawson is remodelling the museum’s interior and architect Reinier de Graaf of OMA is designing the residential development for the site. Cartlidge Levene are creating the wayfinding and signage system. Studio Myerscough are exhibition designers for the permanent collection display, which will be free to enter for the first time in the museum’s history. Fabrique are crafting the museum’s new digital identity.
The Design Museum in Kensington will be a world leading venue with two temporary exhibition spaces, a permanent collection display, learning spaces, design workshops, a specialist design library, an auditorium, a museum shop, a café and restaurant. The museum expects to attract over 500,000 visitors a year.
This is an £80 million project. Chelsfield Partners, developers of the whole site, have donated the building and land, together with £20 million toward the cost of refurbishing the shell and core of the building. The Design Museum is fortunate to have already raised over £40 million through generous commitments from major donors, trusts, foundations and corporate partners, as well as donations from many individual donors and supporters, including all the Design Museum Trustees. The Design Museum continues to fundraise to complete the campaign.
The Design Museum’s Shad Thames site will close to visitors in late 2015. Until then, it will be presenting a full programme of exhibitions and activities. This year’s forthcoming exhibitions include Louis Kahn: The Power of Architecture, opening 9 July, and Women Fashion Power, opening 29 October.