Art lovers rejoice—London’s Design Museum is set to open this Thursday at its spectacular new location on Kensington High Street. Designed by OMA, Allies and Morrison, and Arup, the new museum is housed within a landmark grade II* listed modernist building from the 1960s that triples the museum size to 10,000 square meters. While the architects restored the exterior, John Pawson renovated the interior layout to strengthen the Design Museum’s devotion to and display of contemporary design in every form.
Topped with a sweeping paraboloid copper-clad concrete roof, the Design Museum’s new building features a double-glazed facade that was meticulously detailed with mullions and patterns to mimic the original blue exterior. The renovated facade is complemented by a new public plaza with fountains installed at the entrance and a West 8-designed landscape. The most notable overhaul, however, is in the interior, which includes two major temporary gallery spaces, a free permanent collection display, a restaurant overlooking Holland Park, auditorium, studios, library, archive, and new learning facilities.
Inside the museum, John Pawson led the redesign, ripping out the original concrete floors and laying down Italian terrazzo flooring on the basement and ground floors, while warm-toned Dinesen oak flooring was used for the upper floors. The galleries, learning spaces, cafe, events space, and shop are organized around an oak-lined central atrium that offer beautiful views up to the iconic hyperbolic paraboloid roof. The double-glazed facade and atrium let in copious amounts of natural light. At night, LEDs are used to illuminate the space.
“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,” said John Pawson. “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.” The Design Museum will open to the public on November 24, 2016 and is expected to attract 650,000 visitors in its first year.
Images by Gareth Gardner and Gravity Road