Located in London, one of the world’s leading museums, the Design Museum, is devoted to contemporary design in every form. Sir Terence Conran established the museum earnestly intending to educate people about art and its power. At this museum, art is not limited to architecture, product designs, or fashion but to film-making, automobiles, medicine, and any field where any person embraces the power of creativity and sees its place in the future. The Design Museum at Kensington Street, which opened in 2016, was shifted from the Shad Thames, which had opened in 1989, to having a bigger space to house more art. The space has become three times bigger and better than the former. The building is recreated from a grade 2 structure by retaining a few architectural features and adding new layers.
OMA designed the new building with Allies and Morrison for the exterior and John Pawson for the interiors. The team has done a great job in making the structure look contemporary. The main zones of the museum are the two temporary exhibition spaces, a permanent collection display, workshops for design, learning areas, a library for avid readers, an auditorium, a museum shop to buy gift items, a book store that has one of the finest collections, a cafe and a restaurant to relax and relish. The idea is to have a perennial display with occasional exhibition stalls. The structure’s facade is glass cad, and the building measures approximately 10,000 sq.m in area.
The Design Museum is a space for anyone from the field of art to showcase their work. It’s a platform to exhibit artwork in any form or any way to the world and uniquely expose different cultures and heritage. It’s amorphous and ambiguous. It’s a place to interact with artists from around the globe and for distinct art forms to come together and blend. The Design Museum is a setting where contrasting crafts of art are juxtaposed. Art from different eras and countries to art from the same era but different countries, to art from the same era and countries, to art from different eras and the same countries. Art becomes a stimulant in bringing people together.
The museum is a piece of art itself. The architecture of the setting is thoughtful. The museum is also humorous in a way that highlights everyday life through the use of art. There is space cordoned off for people to create logos for their families and to bring out the creative side from within. Another zone for people who like reading books and become active in making the museum. The central atrium is the heart of the Design Museum, which collects people and then leads them to every section and program in the building. The spatial configuration is potent, and the staircase in the atrium is a place to sit, relax, and absorb art from every direction. The idea of interaction, visually and verbally, can be easily felt. The planning is such that it allows people to come together and lets strangers become friends.
The entire structure uses a lot of colors and is a potpourri of the art of any possible style. The use of graphics acts as a catalyst in bridging the museum’s various functions and silently keeps adding value to it. The Design Museum is not just a public space exhibiting artworks but a mirror to see ourselves after being influenced by the magic of art. It is genuinely introspective. The environment is an honest expression of the potential of imagination and artistic brilliance, making us realize how we have evolved under the tutelage of inventiveness and ingenuity only possible with the progression of art.
Inspiration can be derived from any source when in the building. The exhibitions display unexpected and surprising elements. It can be spoons, chairs, frames, graphic signages, sculptures, to the roof of the museum. Yes, the roof. The roof is an outstanding and eye-catching feature, which has subsequently become the element that gets the Design Museum recognised effortlessly. It’s like a huge hat sitting calmly on the building, like the sorting hat from the movie Harry Potter. The roof spans the entire atrium and looks serpentine from the inside, with ribbed beams-like supports.
The Design Museum is very true to its name. It justifies its epithet, and there is no doubt it will not fail to impress. The museum is an eye-opener as it provides creators and thinkers with a platform to bring change, educate and inspire many more humans. It shows that design is not only creativity and colours but also addresses the needs, demands, and behaviours common to all, functionally and nobly. The Design Museum is a place where there are no wrong answers. Everybody and everything of any scale or magnitude are accepted. After a visit, one will never be the same.
- KHTV, www.youtube.com. (2018). DESIGN MUSEUM | LONDON. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yzkcqneP6aU [Accessed 11 Dec. 2022].
- Q42, F. (2009). Made in 1989. [online] Design Museum. Available at: https://designmuseum.org/made-in-1989.
- newdesignmuseum (n.d.). New Design Museum. [online] Building the world’s foremost museum of contemporary design and architecture. Available at: https://newdesignmuseum.tumblr.com/ [Accessed 11 Dec. 2022].