Design Museum, High Street Kensington, London
London’s Design Museum was established in 1989 and was originally located in Shad Thames, on the south bank of the river. In June 2011, Sir Terence Conran donated £17.5 million to enable the Museum to move to expand its capacity. I will review below my visit to the new museum site:
The museum is now located in a landmark 1960s grade II listed building which was previously the Commonwealth institute in High Street Kensington, west London. The main architecture was designed and coordinated by OMA with John Pawson creating the new interior design. On entering the building you are confronted with a grand atrium, clad with terrazzo floors and beautiful timber finishes. It certainly does meet Pawson’s intensions of creating a ‘beautiful building that people will feel good in.’
The library, café, learning spaces and designer and residents studios are located across the floors above and below the atrium. All interiors are in keeping with the main material language of the atrium.
The current temporary exhibition is named ‘Fear and Love’. The most interesting aspect of the exhibition was the meeting of Mimus, an industrial robot which acts and reacts to its surroundings. The original use of such robots are within the car manufacturing industry, but Mimus is used to follow the visitors, reacting to the environment in the museum. This is facilitated by 8 sensors, which seems to give the robot a sense of emotion. This part of the exhibition shows us how technology is moving on very quickly and how the future must facilitate humans and robots living together.