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Design Museum

History and museums
attractions, sightseeing, culture, art museum, art gallery

Design Museum is a museum founded in 1989, located by the River Thames near Tower Bridge in central London, England. The museum covers product, industrial, graphic, fashion and architectural design. In 2007 the museum was listed by The Times newspaper as number two in their top five museums of the year.

Deyan Sudjic is the current Director of the museum. He succeeded Alice Rawsthorn in 2006. Unlike most large London museums, the entrance is not free, as it is not subsidised by the UK Arts Council. For this reason it operates as a registered charity, and all funds generated by ticket sales aid the museum in putting new exhibitions together. The museum attracts 200,000 visitors annually.


South London site

The museum is currently housed in a former 1940s banana warehouse on the south bank of the River Thames in the Shad Thames area in SE1 London. The conversion of this warehouse altered it beyond recognition to resemble a building in the International Modernist style of the 1930s. This was funded by many companies, designers and benefactors. The museum was principally designed by the Conran group, with exhibitions over two floors, and a "Design Museum Tank" exhibition space out by the water front. Terence Conran aided in this conversion, as it was his concept to create such a museum of modern design A large scale sculpture titled Head of Invention by Sir Eduardo Paolozzi was installed in the area between the Museum and the Thames.


Ground floor
This is the foyer of the museum, which houses the admissions desk, shop, café, and the only toilets in the building, which were designed by Australian product designer Marc Newson, and are viewed as an attraction by some tourists.
First floor
Due to the small size of the museum all the exhibitions change frequently; the first floor houses the main attraction of the museum as it is the biggest space. Previous exhibitions here include a retrospective of Peter Saville's Graphic Design, Manolo Blahnik's Shoe Design and the History of Video Games. Also on the first floor is the Blue Print Café, with views of the River Thames and Tower Bridge.
Design Museum Space
Is on the mezzanine floor between the First and Second floors, it is not generally accessible to the public. It is primarily used for Design Museum talks, which are lectures on design/designers, or hired out for events. It is decorated in a shade of light blue, as the theme of the space is supposed to be "the swimming pool".
Second floor
This space is normally split into two subsections, a larger space towards the windows and river view, and a smaller walled-off space at the back. A semi-permanent exhibition on historic design is generally at the front, which is usually themed for coherency, with themes such as different decades of design. At the rear of this floor is the "Education Centre", where the Education Department of the museum teaches children on a school visit, in workshops.

West London site

In June 2011 Conran donated £17.5 million to enable the Museum to move in 2016 from the warehouse to a larger site which formerly housed the Commonwealth Institute in west London.

The Design Museum will relocate in High Street Kensington on the 24/11/16 as announced on the 18/03/16 Ref:

Award schemes

The Design Museum ran the £25,000 Designer of the Year award from 2003 to 2006; in its first three years it was televised on BBC Two. In 2007 the new Director discontinued the Designer of the Year scheme, and in 2008 introduced the Designs of the Year award. Brit Insurance sponsored the awards from 2003 until 2011.

Designers of the Year

2003 Jonathan Ive

2004 Daniel Brown

2005 Hilary Cottam

2006 Jamie Hewlett

Designs of the Year

Designs produced over the previous twelve months worldwide are eligible. A number of internationally respected design experts are invited to nominate up to five projects each, falling into the seven categories of Architecture, Transport, Graphics, Interactive, Product, Furniture and Fashion.

2008 The 'One Laptop Per Child' project, designed by Yves Béhar for Fuseproject

2009 Barack Obama poster designed by Shepard Fairey

2010 Folding Plug designed by Min-Kyu Choi

2011 Plumen 001 lightbulb, designed by Samuel Wilkinson and Hulger

2012 The London 2012 Olympic Torch, designed by BarberOsgerby

2013 The website "GOV.UK", designed by the Government Digital Service

2014 The Heydar Aliyev Center in Baku, Azerbaijan designed by architect Zaha Hadid

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