Last years winner of the European Museum of the Year Award is a must-see for your next visit to London. The Design Museum is devoted to contemporary design, whether that be graphic, industrial, product, architectural or fashion. Understanding the cultural impact of design is important as it considers the objects that have helped shape everyday life and society.
Resting just south of Holland Park on Kensington High Street is a remarkably unique building which can be recognised by its jagged design. Founded in 1989 by Sir Terence Conran before relocating to Kensington, the museum was housed in a former banana warehouse near Tower Bridge beside the River Thames.
It was in 2011 that the founder donated millions for the museum to move to its current site, the former Commonwealth Institute. The Grade II listed building redeveloped into a space fit for a museum and was led by John Pawson, whose design reflects his minimalist style. It has been open at the Kensington location since 2016 and includes extra facilities such as the Swarovski Foundation Centre for Learning, a Bakala Auditorium and a permanent gallery.
The interior of the museum is spacious, bright and futuristic. Designed in an almost square-like atrium, it is surrounded by walkways and stairs that lead to different spaces and exhibitions. At the top is an impressive permanent collection and as the steps descend to the basement you’ll find temporary galleries and a lecture theatre.
Current exhibitions include the Beazley Designs of the Year, a collection of innovative designs across all platforms and Sound in Mind, a showcase of work by Yuri Suzuki from experimental product design to large-scale sound installations. You can be sure to find a huge variety of displays and exhibitions.
The Design Museum is free to enter where you can access the main exhibitions but you need to buy tickets for temporary exhibitions. It’s open every day (excluding Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day) from 10 am – 6 pm and last entry is 5 pm. It’s also open late until 8 pm on the first Friday of every month.
The museum frequently hosts a range of talks, courses and workshops suitable for different groups and ages. For example, families can drop-in once a month for an informal session of interactive design, suitable for children aged 5-11. Or for those keen on expanding their knowledge, courses such as ‘Creative Startup Essentials by Creative Entrepreneurs’ are great for those looking to dig into the fundamentals of marketing and learn new skills.
After having fun at the Design Museum, please consider booking a table at Aubaine and trying our delicious French food.
Next up: Japan House London