Terence Conran leads time capsule ceremony at site of new Design Museum
Sir Terence Conran is gesturing for a coffee stirrer, Deyan Sudjic is looking on steadfastly. Sebastian Conran is eating a peach.
The ground-breaking for the new Design Museum on Kensington High Street is about to begin, marked with the burial of a time-capsule.
The new Design Museum will take over the former Commonwealth Institute on Kensington High Street.
John Pawson, the architect of its refurbishment, has placed in the time capsule a model of the 1949 Wish Bone Chair by Hans J Wegner.
The metal canister is brimming with further offerings from Boris Johnson, Vivienne Westwood, as well as Sir Paul Smith, Zaha Hadid and a host of other notable Design Museum supporters.
Sir Terence, who described today as ‘one of the most fantastic days of my rather long life,’ used the opportunity to once again to ‘persuade government of the importance of design in this country,’ and says ‘we must start making things again.’
‘I believe that making things in this country is the major way we can create employment,’ says Conran, who believes investing in the talent from design schools and bringing together designers with engineers and entrepreneurs means Britain can ‘give the people of the world the things they want.’
Not one to mince his words, Conran called for government to ‘start another industrial revolution.’
Words which were left ringing in the ears of architecture minister Ed Vaizey, who was on site and picked up where Conran left off by saying, ‘I’m from government.’
Beyond various platitudes of praise, Vaizey said, ‘Government has taken note of Terence’s comments, and I’ll take back what he said and see what we can do.’
Design Week was on site in January to learn exactly how the building will serve its new purpose. It is now due to reopen in 2015 after twelve fallow years and will give the Design Museum three times the space of its current Shad Thames home, and potentially double its audience.
The museum’s new location will see it rub shoulders with other museums including the Natural History Museum, Science Museum and The V&A.
Conran reminded people of the Design Museum’s beginnings in the Boilerhouse of the V&A in 1989, and said how the new director of the V&A Martin Roth ‘has extended a welcome hand’ to ensure a future relationship with the new Design Museum.
Fundraising targets seem to be being consistently met. Every few weeks Design Week hears about another big donation. To date £36.3 million has been raised through various benefactors.
Today Sudjic announced a major donation by Swarovski which will lead to the establishment of the Swarovski Learning Centre within the museum, a hub for 60,000 people annually who will encounter formal education, informal learning, and professional design practice.
The entire project will cost £80 million, of which £45 million will come from the Design Museum, which has already put up the £36.3 million. The other £35 million is being fronted by developer Chelsfield.
Not wanting to miss any opportunities, Conran asked the crowd, ‘If anyone’s got any loose change around, let me know.’