LONDON.- The Design Museum
today unveiled plans to create the worlds 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 worlds 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 Kensingtons 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 buildings 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 Warburgs 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 worlds 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.