Design Museum in London
Design Museum is a museum by the River Thames near Tower Bridge in central London, England. The museum covers product, industrial, graphic, fashion and architectural design. It was founded in 1989 and claims to be the first museum of modern design. In 2007, the museum was listed by The Times newspaper as number two in their top five museums of the year.
Deyan Sudjic is the current Director of the museum. He succeeded Alice Rawsthorn in 2006. Unlike most large London museums, the entrance is not free, as it is not subsidized by the UK Arts Council. For this reason it operates as a charity, and all funds generated by ticket sales aid the museum in putting new exhibitions together. The museum attracts 200,000 visitors annually.
South London site
The museum is currently housed in a former 1940s banana warehouse on the south bank of the River Thames in the Shad Thames area in SE1 London. The conversion of this warehouse altered it beyond recognition to resemble a building in the International Modernist style of the 1930s. This was funded by many companies, designers and benefactors. The museum was principally designed by the Conran group, with exhibitions over two floors, and a "Design Museum Tank" exhibition space out by the water front. Terence Conran aided in this conversion, as it was his concept to create such a museum of Modern Design. A large scale sculpture titled Head of Invention by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi was installed in the area between the Museum and the Thames.
- Ground floor
- This is the foyer of the museum, which consists of the admissions desk, Design Museum shop and Design Museum café, as well as the only toilets in the building. These toilets were designed by Australian product designer Marc Newson, and are viewed as an attraction by some tourists.
- First floor
- The small size of the museum means that all the exhibitions change frequently and the first floor houses the main attraction of the museum as it is the biggest space. Previous exhibitions here include a retrospective of Peter Saville's Graphic Design, Manolo Blahnik's Shoe Design and the History of Video Games.
- Also, on the first floor is the Blue Print Café which is one of Terence Conran's many restaurants, it boasts impressive views of the River Thames and Tower Bridge.
- Design Museum Space
- Is on the mezzanine floor between the First and Second floors, it is not generally accessible to the public. It is primarily used for Design Museum talks, which are lectures on design/designers, or hired out for events such as weddings or business conferences. It has a rather jarring shade of light blue, as the theme of the space is supposed to be "the swimming pool".
- Second floor
- This space is normally split into two sub sections, a larger space towards the windows/river with a smaller walled off space at the back. A semi-permanent exhibition on historic design is generally at the front, which is usually themed for coherency - such as different decades of design.
- The rear of this floor houses a private room called the "Education Centre" which is where the Education Department of the museum teach children, who are taken to the museum for a school visit, in workshops.
West London site
In June 2011, Conran made a £17.5 million donation to the Museum to enable it to move from the warehouse to a larger new site at the former Commonwealth Institute in west London, reopening there by 2014.
Design Museum Brit Insurance Designs of the Year
Brit Insurance Designs of the Year is the Design Museum’s annual exploration of the most innovative, interesting and forward looking designs produced over the last twelve months from around the world and celebrated in seven categories: Architecture, Transport, Graphics, Interactive, Product, Furniture and Fashion. A number of internationally respected design experts are invited to nominate up to five projects, each of which, in their view, represents the best or the most interesting designs produced or launched in the last year.
A judging panel made up of renowned design experts decide the best entries in the seven categories, with Individual category award-winners announced in February to then go forward to compete to be the Brit Insurance Designer of the Year, which is announced at an Awards Dinner in March.
The Brit Insurance Designs of the Year exhibition, showcasing all the shortlisted designs is held annually at the Design Museum.