London’s Design Museum is to open on 24 November in larger premises in Kensington High Street. It will be in the former Commonwealth Institute, a dramatic 1962 modernist building. The museum’s existing site, south of the river at Shad Thames (near Tower Bridge), will close on 30 June.
Converting the Kensington building has cost £83m, of which £35m has been funded by the property developers Chelsfield and Ilchester Estate, which are developing part of the site for residential accommodation. The Design Museum’s main financial donors are the Heritage Lottery Fund (£4.9m) and Arts Council England (£3m). Most of the rest has been obtained from donors, including the museum’s founder, Terence Conran, with £3m still needing to be raised. John Pawson is the architect for the conversion project.
The new museum, with three times more space, will have a free permanent display, entitled Designer Maker User that tells the story of contemporary design. There will be two temporary exhibition spaces, with the first show, Fear and Love: Reactions to a Complex World, to feature newly commissioned installations. The museum, which is run by a charity, expects to attract 650,000 visitors a year, compared with 138,000 paying visitors at its Shad Thames site.