The Design Museum in Kensington
|Location||224-238 Kensington High Street|
London, W8 6AG
|Public transit access||High Street Kensington|
Shad Thames site
The museum was originally housed in a former 1940s banana warehouse on the south bank of the River Thames in the Shad Thames area in SE1 London. The conversion of this warehouse altered it beyond recognition, to resemble a building in the International Modernist style of the 1930s. This was funded by many companies, designers and benefactors. The museum was principally designed by the Conran group, with exhibitions over two floors, and a “Design Museum Tank” exhibition space out by the waterfront. A large scale sculpture titled Head of Invention by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi was installed in the area between the museum and the Thames.
In June 2011, Sir Terence Conran donated £17.5 million to enable the Museum to move in 2016 from the warehouse to a larger site which formerly housed the Commonwealth Institute in west London. This landmark from the 1960s, a Grade II* listed building, designed by Robert Matthew/Sir Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall and Partners architects that had stood vacant for over a decade, was developed by a design team led by John Pawson. Fit-out of the Design Museum's new home was carried out by Willmott Dixon Interiors.
The Design Museum opened in its Kensington location on 24 November 2016. The move gave the museum three times more space than in its previous location at Shad Thames, with the new Swarovski Foundation Centre for Learning, 202-seat Bakala Auditorium and a dedicated gallery to display its permanent collection, accessible free of charge.
The top-floor space under the museum roof houses a permanent display, Designer Maker User, with key objects from the museum’s collection. A restaurant, members’ lounge, residency studio and an events and gallery space are also located on the top floor.
On the first floor, a design and architecture reference library is a resource for students, educators, researchers and designers. It will also include archive material relating to the history of the museum. The Swarovski Foundation Centre for Learning is a suite of learning facilities including a Design Studio, Creative Workshop, two seminar rooms and a Common Room. The Design Museum offices and main reception, a meeting room and a film studio are also located on the first floor.
On the ground floor, the largest gallery in the new Design Museum showcases a programme of temporary exhibitions. Accessible from both Kensington High Street and Holland Park, the atrium acts as an events space. A main staircase from the atrium gives access to all floors and offers views to the first and second floors and the hyperbolic paraboloid roof.
A double-height space spanning the two lower levels, Gallery Two hosts a programme of temporary exhibitions dedicated to architecture, fashion, furniture, product and graphic design. The Bakala Auditorium seats 202 people and provide a purpose-designed space for a programme of talks, seminars, debates and public and private events throughout the year. The basement accommodates a collections store, exhibition preparation spaces and a locker area for visitors.
The Design Museum has an award scheme which Brit Insurance sponsored from 2003 until 2011.
Designers of the Year
- 2003 Jony Ive
- 2004 Daniel Brown
- 2005 Hilary Cottam
- 2006 Jamie Hewlett
- 2009 Duarte Ferreira
Beazley Designs of the Year
Designs produced over the previous twelve months worldwide are eligible. A number of design experts are invited to nominate up to five projects each, falling into the seven categories of Architecture, Transport, Graphics, Interactive, Product, Furniture and Fashion. Since 2015 there have been six categories: architecture, fashion, graphics, digital, product and transport. Beazley Insurance came on board as exhibition sponsor in 2016.
- 2008 The 'One Laptop Per Child' project, designed by Yves Béhar for Fuseproject
- 2009 Barack Obama poster designed by Shepard Fairey
- 2010 Folding Plug designed by Min-Kyu Choi
- 2011 Plumen 001 lightbulb, designed by Samuel Wilkinson and Hulger
- 2012 The London 2012 Olympic Torch, designed by BarberOsgerby
- 2013 The website "GOV.UK", designed by the Government Digital Service
- 2014 The Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan designed by architect Zaha Hadid
- 2015 Human-organs-on-Chips designed by Donald Ingber and Dan Dongeun Huh
- 2020 Teeter-Totter Wall, designed by California-based architects Ronald Rael and Virigina San Fratello.
- Design Council exhibition centre
- "EMYA 2018: The Winners". European Museum Forum. Retrieved 19 September 2018.
- "Charity Details for Design Museum". Charity Commission. Retrieved 10 November 2016.
- Dowd, Vincent (24 November 2016). "Design Museum: A glossy new era and home". BBC News. Retrieved 24 November 2016.
- Fairs, Marcus. "Yves Béhar wins Design of the Year". Dezeen. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- Etherington, Rose. "Shepard Fairey wins Design of the Year". Dezeen. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- Etherington, Rose. "Min-Kyu Choi wins Brit Insurance Design of the Year Award 2010". Dezeen. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- Sinclair, Mark. "Plumen lightbulb wins Design of the Year 2011". Creative Review. Centaur. Archived from the original on 25 March 2014. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- Etherington, Rose. "London 2012 Olympic Torch by BarberOsgerby wins Design of the Year 2012". Dezeen. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- "Gov.uk wins Design of the Year award". BBC News. Retrieved 31 August 2013.
- "Zaha Hadid project in Baku wins Design of the Year". BBC. BBC. 6 July 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2014.
- Leah Dolan. "A seesaw for kids on the US-Mexico border wins Beazley Design of the Year". CNN. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
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