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Tuesday, June 18, 2024

Building starts on new Design Museum

Founder of the Design Museum Sir Terence Conran, Director Deyan Sudjic OBE and Chairman of the Trustees Luqman Arnold, joined by leading architects and designers, attended a ceremony on 18th September to celebrate the ground breaking of the new Design Museum at the former Commonwealth Institute on Kensington High Street.



To mark this historic moment in the development of the Design Museum, a time capsule will be buried in the foundations of the new building. Leading figures in the world of design and architecture have been invited to nominate an object to be included in the capsule. They include the museum’s Design Circle members, Zaha Hadid, Sir Paul Smith, Norman Foster and Cecil Balmond, as well as Sir Terence Conran and John Pawson.


Thomas Heatherwick gave his nomination: “I am nominating an incandescent tungsten filament domestic lightbulb, the symbol of ‘having a good idea’. They are now being phased-out, but hopefully in a hundred years people will still be having good ideas even if the light source no longer looks anything like the lightbulbs we know of now!”

A major donation for the new museum from the newly created Swarovski Foundation was also announced to mark the important occasion. The donation will create a world-class Learning Centre for design, enabling the museum to expand and enrich its learning provision threefold through an inspiring design-led education programme for schools, colleges and universities, families, young people, adult learners and professional designers.    

Designed by John Pawson, the new Design Museum, which will be the world’s leading museum of its kind, is planned to open in 2015. The move will give the museum three times more space, free access to its unique collection and bring it into Kensington’s cultural quarter where it will join the V&A, Science Museum, Natural History Museum, Royal College of Art and Serpentine Gallery.

The museum has made great progress toward raising the necessary funds to complete the new Design Museum project, having secured £36.3 million to date in pledges and donations from: The Atkin Foundation The Conran Foundation, the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation, the Garfield Weston Foundation, The Hans and Marit Rausing Charitable Trust, the Arnold Foundation, the J Paul Getty Jr Charitable Trust, Sir Siegmund Warburg’s Voluntary Settlement, the Swarovski Foundation, The Wolfson Foundation, The 29th May 1961 Charitable Trust, and a number of generous individual benefactors. The Heritage Lottery Fund awarded the project £4.65m in July 2012.


Chelsfield, developer of the whole site, has donated the building and land valued at £15 million, together with £20 million towards the cost of redeveloping the building.






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