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.
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.
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.
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”.
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.