As the dust settles from Alice Rawsthorn’s shock departure from the Design Museum last week, what sort of qualities would you advocate for her successor and what should their priorities be?
While I have not always agreed with what Rawsthorn has done at the Design Museum (I’m not interested in flower arranging or high-heeled shoes), the debate she has inspired has always been interesting. Her successor should continue to explore the meaning of design within contemporary society, and not give in to James Dyson’s demands for a museum to showcase serious design, like turbo fan jet engines and body scanners – that sounds a bit boring!
Mark Delaney, Director, Plan (pictured)
Alice’s successor will need a strong inner compass that can help shape and give expression to the extraordinary creativity in the nation. Is Ross Lovegrove available? In terms of agenda, moving museums is expensive and troublesome. I would stay put, but look to project across, into other UK cities, with touring shows. I understand the shortcomings of the building, but I also know of buildings a lot worse. The ultimate triumph is to get the nation involved in the design excitement of the Olympics.
Professor Jack Lohman, Director, Museum of London
Look beyond simply building the profile of the museum itself, or of its director. To celebrate the diversity of British design, any successor must command respect from all parts of the industry. The Design Museum cannot afford to appear partisan to any particular designers or disciplines. Inevitably, certain design stars will attract an audience, but we work in a collaborative, cross-disciplinary way, with a network of complementary partners. The challenge is to use the known stars to illuminate the whole
Malcolm Garrett, Associate creative director, Applied Information Group
In general, we designers know a great deal about the stuff we like and very little about the stuff we don’t. We really don’t understand enough about the nature of liking. Alice Rawsthorn’s eclecticism was, and remains, a breath of fresh air blowing away the austerity of the ‘good design’ conspiracy. Her successor should continue to keep their mind and the door open for almost anything.
Michael Wolff, Brand consultant, Michael Wolff & Company (pictured)