On trend: The Design Museum

From the outside the Design Museum’s most striking feature is its grey curved roof, pitched like a tent against the sky. Inside visitors are greeted warmly in an expansive, light and open space.

Built in 1962 for the Commonwealth Institute, since 2016 this eye-catching building has presented thought-provoking exhibitions exploring different aspects of design and innovation – past, present and future.

In 2018 the Design Museum was named European Museum of the Year. Here are details of the exciting programme of exhibitions that will mark the museum’s reopening on 31 July.

Electronic: From Kraftwerk to The Chemical Brothers (31 July 2020 – 14 February 2021) will use light and sound to evoke the experience of the electronic dance scene. This interactive exhibition will focus on the people, art, design, technology and photography that shaped electronic music and rave culture.

Connected (10 – 24 September) will showcase how 9 international designers and craft people adapted their working practice during the Covid-19 lockdown and responded to a challenge to create a table and seating area personal to them, meeting the need for home living and working.

Beazley Designs of the Year (Opens 21 October 2020) is an unmissable annual exhibition showcasing innovative design in six different categories: Architecture, Graphic, Transport, Fashion, Digital, Product. Designers from across the world harness ideas, materials and design in surprising ways to find solutions to everyday issues and challenges. Don’t be surprised if you start chatting to fellow visitors about the pros and cons of how these innovations might change our world.

The Design Museum. Credit: John Pawson

The museum’s permanent exhibition Designer, Maker, User, which follows the history of contemporary design and features over 1,000 objects from the museum’s collection, will reopen at a later date. Keep an eye on the website for details. It’s well worth a visit.


Visiting The Design Museum

The Design Museum is light, bright and spacious, which makes for comfortable social distancing. You’ll need to book tickets in advance. Details about how to plan your visit are here.

Open daily 10.00-21.00 from 31 July – 31 August.
Open 10.00-18.00 from September, with extended opening hours until 21.00 on Fridays and Saturdays.

Nearest tube stations: High Street Kensington, Earls Court, Holland Park, followed by a 10 to 15 minute walk. Address: 224-238 Kensington High Street, London W8 6AG.


Eating and drinking

The café at the Design Museum is closed for now, but you’ll find shops, supermarkets and places to eat along Kensington High Street or, closer still, in Holland Park, which is also a great place to picnic. Here you’ll find an eclectic London mix, including a cafe often frequented by obsessive chess players, an enormous adventure playground that is not for the faint-hearted, a beautiful Japanese garden, and an ecology centre offering activities from foraging to conservation.


Credit of the Featured Image Outside of the Design Museum: Gravity Road

About the author:

Tina Gwynne-Evans, London Blue Badge guide and Director of City Treasures Tours, offers tours of London’s museums and galleries.