Design Museum can reach superior status under Sudjic

Rarely has an appointment been as popular in design as that of Deyan Sudjic as director of the Design Museum (DW 16 March). Our Vox Pop respondents sum up the mood of the industry (see page 11) in their positive support.

Rarely has an appointment been as popular in design as that of Deyan Sudjic as director of the Design Museum (DW 16 March). Our Vox Pop respondents sum up the mood of the industry in their positive support.

While many hold a deep respect for former director, now radio broadcaster Alice Rawsthorn, most see Sudjic as the right man for the job at this stage in the museum’s development.

And it’s going to be a busy time for him. He doesn’t take the helm until 1 September, but Design Museum chairman Luqman Arnold has said the museum must move soon. With Sir Nicholas Serota seeking to expand the cultural reach of Bankside – the Thameside home of Tate Modern – and a London design centre mooted in the Cox Review, Arnold and Sudjic can’t wait six months to weigh up these and other options.

Sudjic sees Arnold as a key player in this, and we could be looking at the kind of partnership he had with journalist-turned-entrepreneur Peter Murray, that led to the establishment of the magazine Blueprint, among other things.

But, while still a regular contributor to the UK nationals, largely on architecture, and a former editor of iconic Italian magazine Domus, Sudjic is more than a journalist. He controversially led the team behind Glasgow 1999: City of Architecture and Design and remains Dean of the Faculty of Art, Design and Architecture at Kingston University – a job he appears to relish.

He has, therefore, ticked all the boxes the Design Museum job demands, and these wider experiences will inform his approach to curating. With a shyness sometimes misconstrued as arrogance, he doesn’t have a great public persona, except through his writing, but he knows his stuff and is no pushover.

Sudjic is a Renaisance man of global standing – that is his great strength. The museum will get the best out of him if it acknowledges this and builds a strong executive to support him, freeing him to promote the museum through his many endeavors. He could make it truly world class.

Lynda Relph-Knight, editor

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