Design Museum looks set to raise the bar for broader presentation of design


We are getting intimations of what we might expect from the Design Museum when it moves to new west London premises in 2014 and it is likely to be a bold departure from the blockbuster eulogies to past masters that have been its staple until now.

Consultancies close to the project talk in broad terms about innovative installations and the like at the Parabola the new name for the Commonwealth Institute that will house the new facility. Architecture fans are already excited by the prospect of a reconfigured interior for the Grade II*-listed building by architect John Pawson

Meanwhile, the Design Museum is exploring alternative ways of doing things at its site in London Docklands by inviting Neville Brody and his Anti Design Festival team to create the Anti Design Museum for this year’s London Design Festival (Editor’s blog,, 13 May).

Gone is the emphasis on slick finished products. There is now a finer balance between thought and outcome

It is early days for Brody’s team, but with Cecilia Wee as the overall curator we can expect a broad spectrum of events, talks and workshops. Sound specialist Wee is likely to push the boundaries across all aspects of sensory design, while input from Daniel Charny, Jon Wozencroft and others will ensure an ideas-driven, hands-on approach to the three-day installation.

Let’s hope that the experimental, often irreverent content generated by the ADM will help inform the Design Museum team as they plan for the future. It should provide an intriguing counterfoil to what promises to be a rich retrospective of the work of eminent product designer Kenneth Grange that runs concurrently.

What is interesting in all this is the way UK design is being portrayed within showcases such as the LDF and the Design Museum. Gone is the emphasis solely on slick finished products. There is now a finer balance between thought and outcome the process and this is very welcome.

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