When in 1989 Sir Terence Conran and Stephen Bailey opened the Design Museum in a former banana warehouse in Shad Thames our eyes were opened just a little bit wider to the marvelous world of contemporary design and architecture.
Now, marking a significant point in the history of the museum, the Shad Thames site is closed in preparation for the 24th November reopening of the museum in a spectacular new Kensington High Street site (see our feature about the new store). Here, the former Commonwealth Institute, a unique 1960’s Grade II listed landmark that has stood vacant for over a decade, is being transformed by a design team led by John Pawson to create a building fit for a 21st century museum.
Of course said transformation doesn’t come cheaply, so to bolster the £1million fund needed the Design Museum has launched ‘Adopt an Object’, an innovative fund raising campaign with the aim of raising one fifth of the cost by inviting the public to adopt an object from the museum’s permanent collection and sponsor its passage from the old site to the new for the cost of £5. The campaign is brought to life in a series of ways, not least in twelve specially commissioned films, each of which shows an iconic object making its own way from Shad Thames to the new Kensington site. So we see an Apple iMac G3 riding a skateboard, a Valentine typewriter typing its request to hitch a ride, and, with a particular frisson for us, a gold Original 1227 desk light sailing forth in a taxi. All good fun and in aid of an excellent cause.
So apart from a new location, what’s in it for us?
First and foremost the new museum will be more conveniently located in London’s cultural quarter, close by the Royal College of Art, the V&A, Science and Natural History Museums, cementing its reputation as the world’s leading museum of contemporary design and architecture. What’s more it will occupy three times more space than in its previous location, incorporating a Swarovski Foundation Centre for Learning, a 201-seat Bakala Auditorium and a dedicated gallery for its permanent collection which will be open to the public free of charge. Stuff to be proud of, indeed.
For more information visit https://designmuseum.org/adopt
To adopt the Anglepoise and move it one step closer to its new home visit https://designmuseum.org/adopt/move/anglepoise-lamp