Design Museum seeks permission to transform interior of new home

The Design Museum is seeking permission to alter the interiors of the Grade II*-listed Commonwealth Institute ahead of its planned move to the Kensington building in 2014.


The interior designs, by architect John Pawson, will involve creating a new basement and mezzanine-level in the 1962 building as well as opening up a second opening in the second floor.

The Design Museum has submitted a listed building consent application to the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea to seek permission for the work.

Pawson says, ’The Commonwealth Institute is 50 years old, but the form still feels daring. The sense of vertical expansion when you step into the heart of the building is exhilarating no matter how many times you experience it.

‘Our work is about preserving and enhancing this spatial experience for new generations of visitors.’

Planning permission for the overall site was granted in July 2010, for a scheme developed by Chelsfield Partners and the Ilchester Estate in collaboration with the Design Museum. The architect for the planning scheme is Reinier de Graaf of Rem Koolhaas’s firm The Office of Metropolitan Architecture (OMA).

The changes to the building aim to preserve the ‘swept roof’ and the internal views of it, as well as improving public access.

Design Museum director Deyan Sudjic, says, ‘This is an important step forward for the museum. Exploring the most appropriate way to bring a landmark building from the recent past back to life has been a fascinating and rewarding process’.

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