Commonwealth Institute Design Museum London, Architecture, Opening News, Image, Exhibition
New Design Museum : Commonwealth Institute London
The Parabola building project, Holland Park / Kensington design by OMA, Architects
23 Nov 2016
Design Museum London Building Opening
Design Museum in London Opening
Design: John Pawson / Rem Koolhaas, OMA with Allies and Morrison
Opening of the new Design Museum in London:
The new Design Museum will be the world’s leading museum of contemporary design and architecture, an international showcase for the many design skills at which Britain excels and a creative centre, promoting innovation and nurturing the next generation of design talent.
New photos added 23 June 2017:
London-based architectural designer John Pawson has remodeled the interior of the former Commonwealth Institute building in South Kensington.
Pawson’s conversion of the 1960s building provides the museum with almost 10,000 square metres of gallery spaces – triple the space available at its previous east London location in Shad Thames.
This allows the museum to simultaneously host a permanent display of its collection and two temporary exhibitions.
The exhibition spaces are arranged around a large atrium in the centre of the building, where the underside of the distinctive hyperbolic paraboloid roof is revealed. The space is overlooked by wood-lined galleries and features broad flights of steps that double as seats.
As well as the primary exhibition space, the building hosts the Swarovski Foundation Centre for Learning, the Bakala Auditorium, the Sackler Library and Archive and a Designers in Residence Studio. There is also a cafe, a restaurant, and a members’ room.
Photos from Geberit via shelan.co.uk release, 230617
21 Nov 2016
Design Museum London Opening
Design Museum London Building Opening
Design: John Pawson Architects / OMA / Allies and Morrison
The Design Museum will reopen on High Street Kensington on 24 November 2016.
Tickets are now on sale for the opening exhibitions.
The building opening date is almost two years later than originally planned.
The Design Museum worked with John Pawson on the interior fit out of its building.
OMA were responsible for the overall master plan and in conjunction with Allies and Morrison for the refurbishment of the exterior of the museum.
Willmott Dixon Interiors worked on the £20m fit-out contract.
Studio Myerscough designed the permanent display areas, while the museum’s visual identity has been overhauled by Fernando Gutiérrez Studio. The contractor is Mace.
Developer Chelsfield and the Ilchester Estate donated the Commonwealth Institute building and land to the Design Museum, together with the cost of refurbishing the shell and core of the building.
One of the opening exhibitions is ‘The Making of the Design Museum’:
In 2012, photographer Koto Bolofo was invited to document the conversion of the former Commonwealth Institute into the new Design Museum. The 15 photographs on display represent 15 days in the building’s transformation.
The move will give the museum three times more space than in its previous location at Shad Thames, with the brand new Swarovski Foundation Centre for Learning, 202-seat Bakala Auditorium and a dedicated gallery to display its permanent collection, which will be accessible free of charge. It will bring the museum into Kensington’s cultural quarter, where it will join the Royal College of Art, V&A, Science Museum, Natural History Museum and Serpentine Gallery.
Website: Design Museum London Building
16 May 2016
Design Museum London Auction
Time for Design – Design Museum Auction by Phillips
The Design Museum partnered with Phillips for an auction of design classics, contemporary masters and works from emerging talent, to support the creation of the new Design Museum in Kensington.
Co-curated by architecture critic Deyan Sudjic, the Director of the Design Museum, and Alexander Payne, Worldwide Director of Design at Phillips, Time for Design was both a live auction on 28 April, and an online-only auction from 7 April – 2 May. All profits from the sale will be donated to the Design Museum’s capital campaign for its new home in Holland Park.
‘Time for Design will be a definiteive event in the international design calendar, and in the creation of the new Design Museum. We are extremely grateful to the friends of the museum who had donated such outstanding pieces, often from their personal collections, to help us fulfil our ambition of creating one of London’s most important new cultural sites.’ – Deyan Sudjic
55 pieces were sold at the live and online auctions at Phillips, including:
– solar clock designed by architect David Adjaye: sold for £110,500
– set of three marble tables, designed and donated by architect Zaha Hadid: sold for £106,900
– ‘Arc’ table by Lord Foster: unsold
– ‘Bird’s Nest’ chandelier, designed for the National Stadium for the Olympic Games, Beijing, by Herzog & de Meuron: sold for £13,750
– bronze version of designer Thomas Heatherwick’s Spun chair: sold for £60,000
More info at:
24 + 22 Mar 2016
Design Museum London Opening News
Design Museum in Kensington Opening News
London’s iconic Design Museum is set to open its doors at its new home in the Commonwealth Institute in Kensington High Street on 24 November 2016, almost two years later than originally planned.
Willmott Dixon Interiors is working on the £20m fit-out contract that will see the Grade II-listed building converted into a major visitor attraction dedicated to contemporary design and architecture.
Studio Myerscough is designing the permanent display areas, while the museum’s visual identity has been overhauled by Fernando Gutiérrez Studio. Lighting is being devised by Concord and Cartlidge Levene is creating the signage system. The contractor is Mace.
Developer Chelsfield and the Ilchester Estate donated the Commonwealth Institute building and land, plus the cost of refurbishing the shell and core of the building.
Further funding of £4.9m was provided by The Heritage Lottery Fund, while Arts Council England supported the project with a grant of £3m.
London Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic said: “We need to do something like what Tate Modern did for contemporary art for design in this country.”
The project had originally been announced in 2012 and planned for completion by 2014. However, a number of architectural complications caused the project to be delayed by several years.
Willmott Dixon Interiors is creating galleries to accommodate one permanent and two temporary exhibition areas, as well as modern learning spaces, a library, auditorium, office areas and restaurant.
21 + 12 Sep 2012
New Design Museum in London
Location: 250 Kensington High Street, west London
Design: John Pawson / Rem Koolhaas, OMA
Ed Vaizey MP, Minister for Culture, Communications and Creative Industries: “It’s fantastic news that the Design Museum will reopen at this special site as the world’s leading centre for contemporary design. This will be a tremendous boost for our home-grown creative talent, as well as our international reputation as a leading player in design, intellectual property and valuable, bright ideas. And it will breathe life back into a building that deserves to have an important purpose.”
Thomas Heatherwick: “I am nominating an incandescent tungsten filament domestic lightbulb, the symbol of ‘having a good idea’. They are now being phased-out, but hopefully in a hundred years people will still be having good ideas even if the light source no longer looks anything like the lightbulbs we know of now!”
Founder of the Design Museum Sir Terence Conran, Director Deyan Sudjic OBE and Chairman of the Trustees Luqman Arnold, joined by leading architects and designers, will attend a ceremony to celebrate the ground breaking of the new Design Museum at the former Commonwealth Institute, on Kensington High Street, on Tuesday 18 September 2012 at 10am.
To mark this historic moment in the development of the Design Museum, a time capsule will be buried in the foundations of the new building. Leading figures in the world of design and architecture have been invited to nominate an object to be included in the capsule. They include the museum’s Design Circle members Sir Terence Conran, John Pawson, Reinier de Graaf, Zaha Hadid, Paul Smith, Norman Foster and Cecil Balmond.
Designed by John Pawson, the new Design Museum, which will be the world’s leading museum of its kind, is expected to open in 2015. The move will give the museum three times more space, free access to its unique collection and bring it into Kensington’s cultural quarter where it will join the V&A, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal College of Art and Serpentine Gallery.
The museum has made great progress towards raising the necessary funds to complete the new Design Museum project, having secured £36.3 million to date in pledges and donations from: The Conran Foundation, The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, the Atkin Foundation, The Hans and Marit Rausing Charitable Trust, The Wolfson Foundation, The Garfield Weston Foundation, Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement, 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, The Arnold Foundation and The Department for Culture Media and Sport, the J P Getty Charitable Trust and a number of generous individual benefactors. The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the project £4.65m in July 2012.
Chelsfield, developer of the whole site, has donated the building and land valued at £15 million, together with £20 million towards the cost of redeveloping the building.
24 Jan 2012
Plans for Design Museum at former Commonwealth Institute
Location: 250 Kensington High Street, west London
Design: John Pawson / Rem Koolhaas
£80m PLANS UNVEILED TO CREATE WORLD’S LEADING DESIGN MUSEUM IN LONDON
The Design Museum today unveiled plans to create the world’s leading museum of design and architecture at the former Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington, London. Designs for the site have been produced by two of the world’s most innovative architectural practices: John Pawson has redesigned the interior of the Grade 2* listed building and OMA has planned the surrounding residential development.
The move will allow the new Design Museum to become a word class centre for design, nurturing British talent and its international influence on design of all kinds. It will bring the museum into Kensington’s cultural quarter, where it will join the V&A, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal College of Art and Serpentine Gallery, creating a platform for the promotion and support of the next generation of creative talent.
The new building will open to the public in 2014, giving the Design Museum three times more space to showcase its unique collection. The museum aims to double its visitor numbers to 500,000 a year, and will greatly expand its education and public events programme with state of the art facilities.
The 1960s Commonwealth Institute building has lain dormant for over a decade. Its refurbishment will give a neglected London icon a new life and purpose and will revitalise an important area of West London. In July 2010 the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea granted planning permission to Chelsfield Partners and the IIchester Estate to modify the Grade 2* listed building and for a residential development. The design team for the new project has been assisted by Lord Cunliffe, a leading member of the original architectural team for the Commonwealth Institute in 1958, and by James Sutherland, the building’s original structural engineer.
The new Design Museum, which is an £80 million project, will open in 2014. The Design Museum fundraising target is £44.66 million of which it has secured more than 60% through the support of a number of individuals and trusts and foundations.
The Museum announced today that The Dr Mortimer & Theresa Sackler Foundation has pledged to support the project, making a generous donation to create The Sackler Library, a learning resource at the heart of the new Design Museum. Other major donations include The Conran Foundation, which has pledged £17m, The Heritage Lottery Fund which has made a first stage grant towards an application of £4.95m, The Wolfson Foundation, The Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement, The Hans and Marit Rausing Charitable Trust, The Atkin Foundation and, in addition, a further £2.75m has been raised in early stage fundraising from a small number of individual donors.
Culture Minister Ed Vaizey, said ‘It is immensely exciting to see the plans for the new Design Museum at the Commonwealth Institute in Kensington. The UK leads the world in design and architecture and it is entirely appropriate that we should be creating the world’s greatest Design Museum at this iconic London landmark.
The new Design Museum will be a truly outstanding visitor attraction, learning resource and celebration of the best of British creativity. It is only through the generosity of others that this has become possible and I would like to extend my gratitude to all those who have made this possible.’
The Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, said ‘From the Olympic Park to the new bus for London, our city is a hotbed of creativity, the epicentre of design, and deserves a world-class museum to celebrate the amazing work being created here in the UK and around the world. Housed in an iconic architectural landmark and offering state of the art learning facilities, this new museum puts design firmly in the spotlight and will become a must see destination for visitors as well as designers and students.’
Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum, said ‘This is an important step forward for the Design Museum. We are very excited by all the work that John Pawson and the rest of the design team have done. They have put forward a brilliant strategy to bring the former Commonwealth Institute back to life, which will allow the public to see the essential qualities of this historic listed building, and make a wonderful new home for the Design Museum.’
John Pawson, architect, said ‘The most exciting thing about the project is that, at the end of it all, London will have a world-class museum of design, with galleries for permanent and temporary exhibitions, education spaces and a library. There is particularly nice symbolism in the fact that in making this legacy for future generations, we are saving a work of iconic architecture. I hope the result will demonstrate that you don’t need to demolish old buildings to make wonderful new public space.’
Reinier de Graaf of OMA adds ‘In conceiving a new future for London’s former Commonwealth Institute, we pay tribute to a period that continues to inform contemporary architecture.’
Sir Stuart Lipton, Chairman, Chelsfield, said ‘We are delighted to be supporting the Design Museum to realise its vision of becoming the world’s leading centre for design and architecture. Britain’s designers are taking the lead internationally and it is fitting that there will be a world-class centre for design and architecture in London.’
6 Sep 2011
Design Museum at former Commonwealth Institute
Open House at Commonwealth Institute
Location: 250 Kensington High Street, west London
Design: John Pawson / Rem Koolhaas
DESIGN MUSEUM’S FUTURE HOME TO OPEN DOORS FOR SINGLE WEEKEND
As part of London’s Open House weekend on 17 and 18 September 2011, the future home of the Design Museum at the former Commonwealth Institute building will offer public tours before construction begins in earnest.
It will be the last chance for the public to see this remarkable 1960s site before it re-opens as the new Design Museum in 2014.
The museum’s move from its current site at Tower Bridge to High Street Kensington will triple the space in which to show its world-class collection, and greatly expand its education and public events programme. The new Design Museum will be a platform for promoting design as a national asset, and supporting the next generation of creative talent. The move brings the Museum into Kensington’s cultural quarter, where it will join the V&A, the Science Museum and the Royal College of Art.
Deyan Sudjic, Director, Design Museum, says: ‘Lord Cunliffe’s original design epitomised Britain’s worldwide cultural heritage, and an age of experimentation. The aim is to allow the museum to realise its potential as a word class centre for design, nurturing Britain’s ingenuity and its international influence on design of all kinds. The building is a landmark of 20th Century modernism and I urge everyone to take the opportunity to explore it before the transformation.’
Open House Tours at Commonwealth Institute
Open House Tours 17 – 18 Sep
Tours are free, places are limited, no booking required
Saturday/ Sunday tours every 45 minutes 10.30am – 4.15pm. Last tour 4.15pm. Tours of former exhibition hall led by Design Museum staff.
Max 30 per tour.
The interior of the former Commonwealth Institute will be transformed by internationally acclaimed designer John Pawson, and the surrounding development is the vision of Rem Koolhaas. The design team has been assisted by Lord Cunliffe, a leading member or the original architectural team for the Commonwealth Institute in 1958, and by James Sutherland, the building’s original structural engineer.
The Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea granted planning permission for Chelsfield’s scheme to modify the Grade 2* listed building in July 2010. The project is to be completed by 2014.
Open House London Weekend: 17 & 18 Sep 2011
An anticipated fixture in the capital’s cultural calendar, Open House London is an opportunity to discover London’s architecture with over 700 buildings of all kinds opening their doors, and neighbourhood walks, cycle tours, architects’ talks and debates taking place – all for free. openhouselondon.org.uk
4 Jun 2010
Commonwealth Institute Design Contest
The Parabola – Design Museum News
John Pawson Architects win contest
John Pawson made his name in the late eighties / early nineties with vrious ‘minimalist’ designs, architecturally related to the work of Claudio Silvestrin. We recently featured his house in Milan.
Shortlist of seven architects
The Parabola – Design Museum News – 13 Nov 2009
The Parabola – Design Museum News
18 Sep 2009
PLANS FOR THE NEW DESIGN MUSEUM ON THE FORMER COMMONWEALTH INSTITUTE SITE GIVEN THE GO AHEAD
Plans for a new headquarters for the Design Museum on the site of the former Commonwealth Institute in Kensington High Street were approved by the Planning Committee of the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea last night.
The scheme by Rem Koolhaas’s award-winning Office for Metropolitan Architecture was submitted by Chelsfield Partners and the Ilchester Estate in April 2009 and revised in August 2009.
The move will give the Design Museum three times more space and enable the organisation to create one of the world’s leading design museums in London.
Deyan Sudjic, Director of the Design Museum comments “We are thrilled with the outcome which now opens the way for the Design Museum to realise its vision of becoming a world leading creative centre for design and architecture”.
The Parabola (the new name for the former Commonwealth Institute building) has been practically unoccupied since 2001. The building’s refurbishment and new use will give a neglected London icon a new life and purpose and reinvigorate this important area of Kensington.
The design team has been assisted by Lord Cunliffe, a leading member of the original architectural team for the Commonwealth Institute in 1958, and by James Sutherland the original structural engineer.
The Design Museum’s future use of the building will be part-financed by the developers, with a contribution of £20 million toward the cost of the restoration, and the donation of a long-term lease at a peppercorn rental.
The Parabola Design Museum images / information received 180909
Commonwealth Institute – Design Museum News
18 Aug 2009
Design Museum at the Commonwealth Institute
Update on Planning Submission for new Design Museum on former Commonwealth Institute Site
Revisions have been made to the planning application and submitted last week for the new home for the Design Museum and associated residential development on the site of the former Commonwealth Institute in Kensington High Street.
The revisions, made in response to comments by the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea, local residents and English Heritage, include a number of changes to the Parabola, a 1962 listed building, a revised landscape scheme, a number of height reductions to the residential development and enhanced views of the Parabola building from Kensington High Street.
The original planning application was submitted in April 2009.
Summary of changes:
The sequence of arrival and space disposition has now been changed to more closely resemble the existing arrangement with arrival over a bridge on top of a water feature into the building with a platform giving access by stairs throughout the building. This sequence will be detailed in a further submission by the Design Museum later and retains one of the principal design features of the building.
Other changes in the building include open floors at all levels and the new openings in the floors have been enlarged. Stairs and lifts have been deferred to the Design Museum’s later fit-out applications.
There have been major revisions to the landscape designs which now provide a park setting and incorporate a water feature and access route which is similar to the original concept.
The height of the Park, Garden and High Street residential buildings has been significantly reduced and views from the street and park enhanced.
The site and buildings (Grade II Listed) have had a chequered history since the decline of the Commonwealth Institute. From 1996 onwards, the country exhibits were removed and the building was used for exhibition and conference facilities. It finally closed in 2004 as these uses failed. There have been six failed attempts to obtain lottery funding and other grants and there have been proposals for a wide range of uses which have all failed because of the difficult nature of the design of the original building which was constructed for a very specific purpose on a very limited budget.
Location: 250 Kensington High Street, London, W8, England, UK
London Building Designs
Contemporary London Architecture Designs
London Architecture Designs – chronological list
London Architecture Walking Tours – tailored UK capital city walks by e-architect
Commonwealth Institute Building : main page
image © OMA
Commonwealth Institute architect – site redevelopment : OMA
Commonwealth Institute Restoration : More details
Other OMA London projects:
NM Rothschild & Sons headquarters, City of London
Serpentine Gallery Pavilion 2006
Website: Design Museum, London
Comments / photos for the Commonwealth Institute Design Museum page welcome