John Pawson’s revamp at Commonwealth Institute set for November 24 opening

The Design Museum is set to open in its new home in Kensington on November 24, two years later than originally planned.

The £83m project by contractor Mace and architect John Pawson has seen RMJM’s grade II* former Commonwealth Institute on Kensington High Street transformed into a space three-times larger than the museum’s current home on Shad Thames near Tower Bridge. Willmott Dixon is carrying out the fit-out work.

Once open the museum will also house a free permanent display of its collection for the first time, telling the story of contemporary design.

The museum had originally intended to move into its new space in 2014, which was then pushed back to early 2015 before being hit by further delays.

The Design Museum has previously attributed the delays to the “complexity of the renovation of a listed building” and said the late opening di not “result of a particular problem with the project”.

The museum also announced that the first exhibition in its new space from chief curator Justin McGuirk will be Fear and Love: Reactions to a Complex World. Featuring a series of newly-commissioned installations, Fear and Love will aim to provide an insight into people’s hopes and doubts about the pace and impact of change. The flagship Designs of the Year show will also return for its ninth outing.

Commenting on the opening Design Museum, director Deyan Sudjic said: “This move will redefine the Design Museum as the most inspiring, exciting and engaging contemporary design and architecture museum in the world, with 10,000sqm of space, and a target of 650,000 visitors each year.

“Design is the way to ask questions about what technology is doing to us, to explore how the world will look and work as well as to define new aesthetic approaches.

“The museum will have a challenging programme that encourages new work and new thinking, and the touring, digital and publications programme will take the message around the world. The museum will nurture new generations of designers and continue its history of recognising and supporting emerging design talent.”