Fashion and architecture, graphics and product: instead of trying to define what contemporary design is, London’s Design Museum has long been celebrating it for over 27 years. And now it has three-times more space to do so.
The 1960s modernist building has been redesigned by John Pawson (the designer behind Christopher Kane’s first London flagship) and is now housing three exhibition spaces, a library and archive, multiple learning spaces, a designer-in-residence studio as well as a restaurant and café. In the case of the new Design Museum, the phrase “the cobbler's children go unshod” doesn’t really hold up. The Kensington High Street space is absolutely majestic yet unobtrusive, fulfilling its role of a museum space while still showcasing the peak of the design and architecture through its very built existence.
The Fear and Love exhibition; image by Luke Hayes.
For the first time, London’s Design Museum has a free permanent exhibition called Designer Maker User, which explores the interconnecting roles of the design process. From a pair of Louboutins to a tube carriage, it’s all about the personal relationships we have with the objects we use every day. On the more experimental side of the spectrum is the Fear and Love exhibition, a major opening show that celebrates ideas of networked sexuality, sentient robots, slow fashion and settled nomads through a series of major new commissions by some of the most innovative practitioners. And in its ninth year, the Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition celebrates the best designs from around the world in the last 12 months across six categories: architecture, digital, fashion, graphics, product and transport. This is a perfect opportunity to see works by some of our favourite fashion names like Agi & Sam, Craig Green and Richard Malone next to video games, a drinkable book and the blueprints of Milan’s Prada Foundation.
The Beazley Designs of the Year exhibition; image by Luke Hayes.
With its prerogative being the representation of all disciplines of design, the new Design Museum is a place for everyone – it’s where fashion heads fall in love with architecture and graphic designers get introduced to the magic of shoemaking.
The Design Museum opens its new doors on 24 November at 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 6AG.
Text by Dino Bonacic