As the Design Museum prepares to reopen its doors on 24th November at its new home on Kensington High Street, it's safe to say, this is an exciting time in the world of design. To celebrate the opening, we look back at the institution's pioneering history and forward to the exciting future of a museum that promises to redefine design as we know it.
As curators of contemporary design with a founder in common, The Conran Shop and the Design Museum certainly understand the importance of celebrating how design informs the world around us.
Where The Conran Shop aims to inspire and excite through collections that reflect the way we live, the Design Museum spotlights these designs and their creators, unveiling the inspirations and processes of many of the most important designers in the world.
With the permanent collection, ‘Designer Maker User’ at its core, the new Design Museum will challenge, inspire and engage with a cacophony of colourful, never-before-seen exhibitions.
The museum’s Director, Deyan Sudjic, said of the new museum, ‘Design is the way to ask questions about what technology is doing to us, to explore how the world will look and work as well as to define new aesthetic approaches.
The museum will have a challenging programme that encourages new work and new thinking, and the touring, digital and publications programme will take the message around the world.
The museum will nurture new generations of designers and continue its history of recognising and supporting emerging design talent.’
The museum's new and exciting permanent collection ‘Designer User Maker’ is free to access for the general public and features almost 1000 designs. It brings easily overlooked, key designs that we all use every day back to life, by highlighting the genius hidden in simple functionality.
‘Designer User Maker’ examines the conception of these designs, which range from the tube train, to an AK 47, to Christian Louboutin stilettos, then reveals the mysterious making process behind each piece, before questioning their success or failure by looking at them through the eyes of the user.
The centrepiece of the 'Designer User Maker' exhibition is 'The Crowdsourced Wall', a wall covered in 400 objects, from the Coca Cola can to a five pound banknote, all nominated by members of the public from over 25 countries around the world; the selected designs demonstrate the different relationships we can have with everyday objects.
Other than the permanent collection, the Design Museum will be home to an array of other specifically curated exhibitions, starting with ‘Love and Fear’, which promises to be an insight into our hopes and doubts about the pace and impact of the changing world around us.
The flagship Designs of the Year Awards will also celebrate its ninth year at the Design Museum just in time for the reopening, as a panel of distinguished international designers, curators and creatives will select the most original and exciting products from over 70 nominations, which include the cover of David Bowie's final album 'Blackstar', a robotic surgeon and a drinkable book.
The Design Museum’s new building will also make room for the Swarovski Foundation Centre for Learning, Bakala Auditorium, Sackler Library and Archive and a 'Designers in Residence' Studio, which will open with a showcase of the work of the 2016 Designers in Residence, due to be announced next spring. There will also be a café, restaurant, members’ room and gift shop to rival the museum itself.
Sir Terence Conran, founder of both the Design Museum and The Conran Shop, said of the redesign, ‘We are about to move from Shad Thames to new, bigger premises in Kensington, where all our dreams and ambitions to create the best and most important design museum in the world will become a step closer to reality. It will make my long lifetime in design absolutely worthwhile.’
The Design Museum’s future looks bright; its relocation to the Grade II listed former Commonwealth Building on Kensington High Street marks a new era for the inimitable museum. With a spectacular new home that is as inspiring as its contents, the Design Museum will continue to be a world-class space where the very best in design and architecture can live, thrive and receive the recognition it deserves.
The Design Museum is set to open in its new location on Kensington High Street on 24th November 2016.