Design Museum Unveils Plans for New London Museum

The Design Museum today unveiled plans to create the world’s leading museum of design and architecture at the former Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington, London. Designs for the site have been produced by two of the world’s most innovative architectural practices: John Pawson has redesigned the interior of the Grade 2* listed building and OMA has planned the surrounding residential development.

The move will allow the new Design Museum to become a word class centre for design, nurturing British talent and its international influence on design of all kinds. It will bring the museum into Kensington’s cultural quarter, where it will join the V&A, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal College of Art and Serpentine Gallery, creating a platform for the promotion and support of the next generation of creative talent.

The new building will open to the public in 2014, giving the Design Museum three times more space to showcase its unique collection. The museum aims to double its visitor numbers to 500,000 a year, and will greatly expand its education and public events programme with state of the art facilities.

The 1960s Commonwealth Institute building has lain dormant for over a decade. Its refurbishment will give a neglected London icon a new life and purpose and will revitalise an important area of West London. In July 2010 the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea granted planning permission to Chelsfield Partners and the IIchester Estate to modify the Grade 2* listed building and for a residential development. The design team for the new project has been assisted by Lord Cunliffe, a leading member of the original architectural team for the Commonwealth Institute in 1958, and by James Sutherland, the building’s original structural engineer.

The new Design Museum, which is an £80 million project, will open in 2014. The Design Museum fundraising target is £44.66 million of which it has secured more than 60% through the support of a number of individuals and trusts and foundations.

The Museum announced today that The Dr Mortimer & Theresa Sackler Foundation has pledged to support the project, making a generous donation to create The Sackler Library, a learning resource at the heart of the new Design Museum. Other major donations include The Conran Foundation, which has pledged £17m, The Heritage Lottery Fund which has made a first stage grant towards an application of £4.95m, The Wolfson Foundation, The Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement, The Hans and Marit Rausing Charitable Trust, The Atkin Foundation and, in addition, a further £2.75m has been raised in early stage fundraising from a small number of individual donors.

The Design Museum is the world’s leading museum devoted to architecture and industrial design. It is working to place design at the centre of contemporary culture. It demonstrates both the richness of the creativity to be found in all forms of design, and its importance. The Design Museum is the definitive voice of contemporary design in the UK. Founded in 1989 and currently located in Shad Thames, its work encompasses all elements of design, including product design, graphic design, and fashion. The Design Museum plans to relocate from its current home at Shad Thames to the former Commonwealth Institute building, in Kensington, West London. The project is expected to be completed by 2014. Leading designer John Pawson will convert the interior of the Commonwealth Institute building to create a new home for the Design Museum giving it three times more space in which to show a wider range of exhibitions, showcase its world class collection and extend its learning programme.

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