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industry insider
The new Design Museum opens its doors in London
Dec 2, 2016

The Design Museum has officially opened in its new West London location, encompassing two temporary gallery spaces, a free permanent collection display, a restaurant that overlooks Holland Park, an auditorium, studios, a library, an archive and new learning facilities. The building restoration, designed by John Pawson, is triple the size of the museum’s prior space.


The Design Museum

With an investment of some $103 million, the museum has been restored by OMA, Allies and Morrison and Arup, with a remodeled interior by Pawson, including an oak-lined atrium. Other partnerships on the project include a permanent collection display designed by Studio Myerscough, a restaurant and members’ room by Universal Design Studio, the Swarovski Foundation Centre for Learning, flooring by Dinesen, furniture by Vitra, shelving by Vitsoe and lighting by Concord.

Of the design, the museum explains, “The complex renovation of the museum saw OMA, led by Reinier de Graaf, Allies and Morrison, Arup and John Pawson work together to bring this landmark of postwar British architecture back into use. Using radical engineering techniques, the original concrete floors were removed—a process that entailed propping the roof on a temporary steel structure 20 meters above the ground. The original facade has been replaced with a double-glazed skin, significantly improving insulation standards and allowing daylight into the interior. The new exterior has been meticulously detailed to resemble the original blue skin of the building, with matching mullions and a fritted pattern of printed dots.”

Shares Pawson, “There are ‘moments’ in the building that I relish every time I walk around, but I think it is really the way everything comes together—the new and the old—that gives me the greatest pleasure. I hope The Design Museum shows people that you don’t have to tear down and start from scratch to make exciting new cultural spaces.” 

Among the key features is the permanent exhibition, “Designer Maker User,” which is free to visitors and will display about 1,000 objects from the perspectives of designers, makers and users. 

Says Sir Terence Conran, founder of The Design Museum, “I’m full of excitement as we enter the final stages of this long journey and prepare to open our magnificent new cathedral of design. It really does feel like our moment has arrived and that the importance of design to our lives is now truly appreciated. With three times the space and John Pawson’s beautiful architectural work, I hope we can now educate, inspire and delight future generations for years to come and truly make a difference to the world around us.”

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