Lonely Planet Writer

Get a first glimpse of London's newly relocated Design Museum as it prepares to open this week

London’s cultural hub of Kensington will soon have one more museum to add to its list of attractions, as the newly relocated Design Museum opens to the public on 24 November.

A general view shows the atrium of the new Design Museum in Kensington, London on November 17, 2016. British architectural designer John Pawson has remodelled the interior of the former Commonwealth Institute building in west London.
A general view shows the atrium of the new Design Museum in Kensington, London. Image by BEN STANSALL/AFP/Getty Images

To increase its exhibition space, the museum has moved from its old location at Shad Thames to a new premises designed by John Pawson on Kensington High Street. The original museum was founded by Terence Conran in 1989, and in 2008, the museum decided to move to the Grade II listed building from the 1960s, the former Commonwealth Institute, which had sat vacant in Kensington for more than a decade. The building was updated by Pawson and a design team and is more than three times the size of the previous building.

An installation in the Fear and Love exhibition at the new Design Museum in Kensington, London.
An installation in the Fear and Love exhibition at the new Design Museum in Kensington, London. Image by Kirsty O’Connor/PA Images via Getty Images

The new location puts the museum in good company, as it is located near the V&A, the Natural History Museum, the Serpentine Gallery and more of London’s top cultural offerings. The design museum is filled with objects that will help explain design to a general audience, featuring architecture, fashion, furniture, graphic design, transport and digital media.

A member of staff poses next to items that were suggested by members of the public when asked what everyday affordable designs were special to them, during a media preview at the new Design Museum ahead of its official opening later this month, on November 17, 2016 in London, England. Following an investment of 83 million GBP, the Design Museum has moved from its old location to a new premises designed by John Pawson on Kensington High Street that is more than three times the size of the previous building. The original museum was founded by Terence Conran in 1989 and has grown in popularity since.
A member of staff poses next to items that were suggested by members of the public when asked what everyday affordable designs were special to them. Image by Carl Court/Getty Images

The first exhibition at the museum is entitled Fear and Love: Reactions to a Complex World, which is “about our hopes and doubts about the pace and impact of change”. The exhibition will feature 11 installations that explore sentient robots, slow fashion and more, showing how “design is deeply connected not just to commerce and culture but to urgent underlying issues – issues that inspire fear and love”.

Part of a fashion design called The Coolman Collection by Agi and Sam.
Part of a fashion design called The Coolman Collection by Agi and Sam. Image by Carl Court/Getty Images

The museum will also hold events this weekend to mark the opening, with free workshops, installations, talks and more. The permanent collection at the museum will be free of charge while certain exhibitions will have entrance fees. The museum is expecting more than 500,000 visitors per year.