after five years of construction, london’s design museum is set to open in its new home on kensington high street. the institution, which has tripled in size to 10,000 square meters, is housed within a landmark listed building that dates back to the 1960s. the museum’s interiors have been remodeled by john pawson, while other big names — including OMA — have restored the structure’s distinctive façade and roof canopy.

design museum london
a series of calm, atmospheric spaces are articulated around an oak-lined atrium
image by gareth gardner (also main image)

 

 

the design museum’s complex renovation saw OMA, allies and morrison, arup and john pawson collaborate to bring the landmark building back into use. the original concrete floors have been removed, while the previously existing façade has been replaced with a double-glazed skin — significantly improving insulation and permitting daylight to enter. the new exterior has been detailed to resemble the original blue skin of the building, with matching mullions and a fritted pattern of printed dots.

design museum london
the museum’s interiors have been completely remodeled by john pawson
image by gareth gardner

 

 

inside the museum — which forms pawson’s first major public work — a series of calm, atmospheric spaces are articulated around an oak-lined atrium. sightlines are oriented towards the structure’s hyperbolic paraboloid roof, which spans the length of the building, rising on the two opposing corners to create an overhead manta ray-like structure. to ease circulation, galleries, learning spaces, the café, and the events space are arranged around the central atrium.

design museum london
the institution has tripled in size to a total of 10,000 square meters
image by gareth gardner

 

 

the building includes two generously proportioned temporary galleries, one on the ground floor, and the other on the museum’s lower level. both feature double-height spaces and textured concrete columns and will display up to seven temporary exhibitions each year. a double-height basement also features a dedicated museum collection store with a glass window, allowing visitors a behind-the-scenes glimpse of pieces not on display. a 200-seat auditorium, capable of hosting lectures and talks, completes the basement.

design museum london
sightlines are oriented towards the structure’s hyperbolic paraboloid roof
image by gareth gardner

 

 

the ground floor houses the museum’s coffee and juice counter, with the design museum shop located opposite. strip LEDs line the handrails and banisters of the oak staircases, while bench-style leather seating is found across a section of the main staircase. italian terrazzo flooring is used throughout the basement and ground floors, transitioning to warm-toned oak flooring and wall panels on the upper levels.

design museum london
to ease circulation, spaces are arranged logically around the central atrium
image by gareth gardner

 

 

the first floor provides spaces dedicated to education, with a library and archive that features a collection of books and drawings. the main feature of the first floor is the ‘swarovski foundation centre for learning’, a space that allows for hands-on workshops, as well as digital studios. also displayed at this level is a selection of images of the building in its construction phase, taken by fashion photographer koto bolofo.

design museum london
strip LEDs line the handrails and banisters of the oak staircases
image by gareth gardner

 

 

the museum’s top floor contains the new permanent collection display, an exhibition that presents almost 1,000 objects, viewed from the perspectives of designer, manufacturer, and user. standout pieces include a 1:1 scale model of the new london tube train, the british road signage system, an AK47, and an interactive digital fashion display.

design museum london
italian terrazzo flooring is used throughout the basement and ground floors
image by gareth gardner

 

 

‘parabola’, a restaurant named after the museum’s signature roof, sits on the top floor and offers views of the adjacent holland park. located in the opposite corner is the members’ room, a dedicated area where museum patrons can relax, work, and eat. meanwhile, the ‘helene and johannes huth gallery’ on the top floor offers further options for public programming, pop-up exhibitions, and corporate hire.

design museum london
the roof spans the length of the building, rising on the two opposing corners
image by gareth gardner

 

 

there are ‘moments’ in the building that I relish every time I walk around, but I think it is really the way everything comes together — the new and the old — that gives me the greatest pleasure,’ says john pawson. ‘I hope the design museum shows people that you don’t have to tear down and start from scratch to make exciting new cultural spaces.’

 

the new design museum opens to the public on november 24, 2016. see designboom’s previous coverage of the project here.

design museum london
the distinctive canopy creates an overhead manta ray-like structure
image by hélène binet

design museum london
the first floor provides spaces dedicated to education, with a library and archive
image by hélène binet

design museum london
the original façade has been replaced with a double-glazed skin
image by gareth gardner

design museum london
the new design museum opens to the public on november 24, 2016
image by hélène binet

 

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