Conran, who founded Design Museum forerunner the Boilerhouse in 1982, has donated £7.5 million in cash and the proceeds of the sale of the lease of the current Design Museum building in Shad Thames – valued in the region of £10 million.
The budget for the Design Museum Kensington project is £77 million and the Design Museum says a ‘significant amount’ of funding has been secured thanks to the Conran gift, alongside contributions from the developer of the adjacent retail scheme, potential Heritage Lottery Fund cash and a number of other major gifts.
The Museum is now embarking on ‘a major fundraising campaign’, which will include applying for a further £4.65 million from the HLF.
The planned move will see the Commonwealth Museum developed into a new home for the Design Museum, with architect John Pawson working on the interior and Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas’s practice OMA working on a surrounding development.
The Design Museum says the move will give it three times more space and allow it to run a wide range of exhibitions, showcase its collection and extend its learing programme.
Conran says, ‘Moving to the Commonwealth Institute will allow all our dreams and ambitions for the Design Museum to come true, to create a world-class space with the size and scope for serious promotion and celebration of design and architecture in this country.’
Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic says, ‘By making our ambition to move to the former Commonwealth Institute much more achievable, [Conran] makes possible a project that will give the museum three times as much space as it has now.’