Less than 15 minutes’ walk from The Milestone Hotel, London’s Design Museum is a fascinating showcase of design talent in its many forms. From high fashion to innovative products, breathtaking buildings and stylish modes of transport, the museum explores the creativity, technological innovation and painstaking craftsmanship that go into great design. Housed in a spectacular renovated 1960s building, here are five reasons why you should visit Kensington’s award-winning Design Museum while in London.
The move to Kensington
Originally based in Shad Thames, the Design Museum opened at its current Kensington address in November 2016. The institution took over a disused yet distinctive 1960s, Grade II listed building on Kensington High Street and set about making it fit to house a 21st century museum. Intended to be a leading centre for design and architecture and to champion British creative talent, the space was renovated by [CC1] designer John Pawson, who is revered for his clean, minimal style. The Kensington site occupies over 10,000 square metres and includes one permanent collection display as well as two temporary exhibition spaces. In addition, it’s also home to two shops, a café, a restaurant, a library and archive, an auditorium that seats 200, event spaces and plenty of learning spaces.
Azzedine Alaia: The Couturier
A celebration of exceptional design talent, this major exhibition showcases the work of the late couturier Azzedine Alaia. The first solo exhibition of Alaia’s work to be staged in the UK, the exhibition was co-curated by the designer before his death in 2017. The works on display here offer an insight into the exclusive and historic world of couture fashion as well as the rebellious and radical attitude of Alaia himself. Explore collections designed by Alaia from the 1980s up until 2017, and discover a designer who wasn’t afraid to push boundaries.
Until 7th October 2018
The Design Museum Shop
Offering a carefully chosen edit of design books and objects, The Design Museum shop is a wonderful place to pick up a gift, whether for yourself or a loved one. Showcasing established names alongside new design talent, expect stylish and clever design objects from kitchen utensils to prints, soft furnishings and beauty products. Moreover, plenty of the items on display in the museum are also available for purchase in the shop, meaning you can take a piece of design history home with you.
Talks, courses and workshops
Looking to engage with its visitors as much as possible, the museum also organises a busy programme of thought provoking talks, educational courses and hands on workshops. Whether it’s a yoga class in the museum, a walking tour of London by night or a heated debate, the Design Museum offers an interactive and varied experience for all ages.
Awards and prizes
As well as being a recipient of awards itself (recently, the museum was crowned the European Museum of the Year 2018), The Design Museum hosts its own award schemes such as Beazley Designs of the Year. The competition highlights the most intriguing designs created that year and is split between a variety of categories from architecture and fashion to transport. The winner in 2017 was The National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington D.C. which was designed by Adjaye Associates. Furthermore, the museum also has a Designers in Residence schem,e which helps nurture emerging design talent and provide space for creative development.
After a visit to The Design Museum, head to the Stables Bar at The Milestone Hotel for an excellently made cocktail or two.
Image Credits: Lead image © Gravity Road, Design Museum interior 1 © Hufton + Crow. Design Museum interior 2 © Hufton + Crow. Design Museum interior 3 © Gareth Gardner.