Decor and Style has the pleasure to present you the newest baby of the Design World that’s why we share with you the article of the day – Introducing The New Design Museum in London.
Over a decade in the making, the cultural institution is set to open to the public on November 24 with a new £83 million home in the renovated and repurposed Grade II-listed Commonwealth Institute on High Street Kensington. Here are some introductory facts and figures about the new and improved palace of culture.
Three times the size of its previous home, the Design Museum’s new location brings it west to the edge of Holland Park. The 1962 modernist building’s iconic shell has been carefully restored to its former glory; the sweeping pavilion roof faithfully repaired and the exterior recast to resemble the original blue skin. Part refurbishment, part conversion project, its interior received the most radical transformation of all, entirely re-imaged at the hands of British architect John Pawson.
Originally completed in 1962, the Commonwealth Institute was designed by Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall & Partners. It became a listed property in 1988 and had been vacant since 2002. It was in 2008 when international architecture practice OMA proposed to preserve and repurpose the iconic building (and its surrounding area), which was claimed by the Design Museum in 2008.
A landmark of post-war British architecture, the Commonwealth Institute’s renovation took five years of hard construction, and far longer in the planning. Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic has been crusading for a new premises for 10 years.
As part of the construction work, the original concrete floors of the building were removed – a process which required floating the parabolic roof on a temporary steel structure – and the original facade was replaced with a double-glazed skin, improving its insulation whilst maximising the amount of daylight entering the building. The original stained glass windows by Keith New remain, filling the shop with colour and light.
This will be the Design Museum’s third home. Between 1989 and July 2016 it inhabited a former banana ripening warehouse on Shad Thames in South East London. Prior to that, in 1983, it opened as the Boilerhouse Project in the basement of the V&A, fuelled by the passion and vision of founding father Sir Terence Conran throughout.
Check the amazing Covet House Douro (Portugal) Tour:
Known as a master of minimalism, John Pawson is acclaimed for his refined residential projects. Having joined the project in 2015, Pawson’s signature simplicity is striking from the start. A large central atrium opens up with striking views of the triangulated concrete roof, panning out towards the corners like a giant butterfly. Large oak staircases guide visitors around the museum’s many spaces, including galleries, learning spaces, a cafe, Parabola restaurant and shop.
Two temporary galleries – one the ground floor, the other on the museum’s lower level – will host up to seven paid exhibitions per year. On the museum’s top floor, the museum’s new permanent collection, Designer Maker User, will be free to visit for the first time, displaying almost 1,000 objects.
As well as the 200-seat Bakala Auditorium, the new double-height basement features a dedicated museum collection storage area which allows visitors a behind-the-scenes glimpse of pieces not on display through a large glass window.
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On the first floor, the Swarovski Foundation Centre for Learning will host hands-on workshops and the digital learning studios. Meanwhile, the Helen and Johannes Huth Gallery on the top floor will host pop-up exhibitions and sit side-by-side with the studios created for the museum’s yearly Designers in Residence scheme.
Holland Green, the three residential blocks surrounding the Design Museum, were created with a view to preserve and fund the building’s revival. In 2011 Allies and Morrison joined the project alongside OMA, followed by John Pawson in July 2015. Further funding was provided by the Heritage Lottery fund (to the tune of £4.6 million), the Arts Council, among others.