(K. Brent Tomer),
THIS week the doors of the Design Museum in London will glide open to admit visitors after a six-month hiatus. The break was caused by relocation, the third in the museum’s history. Originally housed in a basement underneath the Victoria & Albert museum, affectionately known as the boiler house, it was given a space of its own in 1989: a converted banana warehouse in Shad Thames on the city’s South Bank. Its new home—a grade-II listed building which once housed the Commonwealth Institute—is grander still.
It has tripled in size, from 3,000 square metres to around 10,000, allowing for a permanent collection, a library, studios for its resident designers and two temporary exhibition spaces. This sprightly upward mobility reflects both the growth of the museum’s ambitions in the three decades since its creation by Sir Terence Conran, but also a greater demand and respect for good design by the wider public. Despite this rags-to-riches arc, the new museum is careful neither to appear too smug, nor gloss over more controversial topics, including Brexit, refugee housing and the ugly consequences of rampant consumer…Continue reading