The new Design Museum has finally opened at its stunning new location on Kensington High Street. The museum, founded by Sir Terence Conran in 1989 was originally based in a converted banana warehouse in Shad Thames, where it gave us many stunning displays of human invention. However, finding themselves with a need to expand, the search began for a suitable new home. This came in the form of the 1960s former Commonwealth Institute on Kensington High Street. Read on for why you should visit the new Design Museum in Kensington.
A new design for a new era
The world has changed immensely since the Design Museum first opened and with its new home comes a sleek new look for the museum. Minimalist designer, John Pawson has created the new interior with the aim of turning the building into a suitable new home for the museum whilst holding onto the building’s unique nuances. The eagerly awaited opening of the new Design Museum was due to occur in 2014 however the renovations to the grade ll listed building in Kensington proved problematic leading to a two year delay. The final result has given the museum three times as much exhibition space in Kensington than it previously had in Shad Thames. This allows it to have its first permanent exhibition as well as two temporary instalment areas; a designer in residence studio, library and archive, a 202 seat auditorium and one events space. There will also be two shops, a café, restaurant and members lounge.
What’s on at the new Design Museum in Kensington?
Fear and Love: Reactions to a Complex World
Chief Curator, Justin McGuirk’s first exhibition is Fear and Love: Reactions to a Complex World. This display aims to express the feelings that new technology instils in people. With eleven instalments from some of the most ingenious creators of contemporary design, these works explore a myriad of current issues including networked sexuality and sentient robots.
Beazley’s Designs of the Year show
Now in its ninth year, Beazley’s Designs of the Year Show celebrates the best of contemporary design across six categories: architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product and transport. The designers range from well-established professionals to talented newcomers.
To find out more about the awards, take a look at the nominees or to book tickets visit the Design Museum website.
Designer Maker User
Designer Maker User is The Design Museums first permanent free display. The exhibition features various examples of items designed during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, viewed from the different stand points of the designer, manufacturer and user. The pieces in the display, which also features a crowd sourced wall, cover a wide range of disciplines from engineering to fashion and graphics.
The Design Museums designers in residence
The designers in residence programme is an integral part of the museum’s activity. It provides up and coming designers the chance to work outside their usual environment, giving them the opportunity to reflect on new ways of developing their skills.
Talks, events and workshops at The Design Museum
The Design Museum is now in a position to offer so much more to the visiting public. This includes a fascinating schedule of talks and events, designed to inspire and educate. This month they have a British Sign Language tour for deaf visitors and multi-sensory tour for those who are partially sighted. For those looking for the perfect Christmas gift for the design conscious person in your life, there will also be a Design Museum Market.
If you are artistically inclined then head to the museum on the 3rd Sunday of every month to join an expert illustrator who will guide you through various drawing activities from architecture to drawing objects held within the collection.
There is also a schedule of workshops for all ages including Create and Make, aimed at 5-11 year olds where they create their own designs inspired by the exhibitions. The Get Into Design workshops are short courses for families and youngsters to help nurture and build confidence in design skills. The museum is also offering a new free programme, Young Creatives for people aged 14-19 years old who will get to work alongside designers on projects to develop new skills and interests. Keep an eye on the website for news of upcoming events and courses!
The Design Museum is a fantastic addition to the area and is in very good company with the V&A, Royal College of Art, Science Museum and the Natural History Museum just a stone’s throw away. The new location is expected to bring in more than 400,000 visitors a year and will hopefully inspire a whole new generation of designers!
The Design Museum
224 – 238 Kensington High Street, W8 6AG
All photo credits – The Design Museum.