Last night's The London Paper ran an article about how the recession had driven a coach and horses through retail in Kensington High Street. All rather dull until I read that the old Commonwealth Institute building at the Holland Park end of Ken High St may become the new home of the Design Museum. This is the first I have heard about this - does anyone know anything further? I for one hope that the Design Museum keeps its SE1 base - perhaps a bit like the Tate it could have two sites?
If the Design Museum does leave its SE1 home it is rather difficult to imagine what might take its place!
They get 200,000 visitors a year at the se1 site - unfortunately its probably not enough compared to if it was in another location. Often people looking for it are very lost so it is must seem a bit hidden to those not living in the area.
Today's Londonist blog, informs me that there is now a planning application for the former Commonwealth Institute building. It includes space for the Design Museum - which would be given a radical makeover by design wunderkind Rem Koolhaas's OMA.
There's a link to the planning drawings on the Kensington & Chelsea site through the Londonist story.
The new location seems to me be misjudged; it's in an area which, though superficially "connected", is actually quite obscure. I suppose a Koolhass makeover would turn it into a destination, but it might just end up being a bit like a glorified Conran shop. I'm concerned about what will happen to the present site. Probably nothing, in this market.
It would be a shame is it left SE1, despite its slightly obscure location.
Unless a more seemingly prominent place allowed it to have some form of permanent exhibitions or whatever which could be accessed without charge.
Sometimes in there it seems that the cake shop is far more popular than the 'museum' itself - I wonder if more people would come if parts of it were free - it may seem odd when so many other places do not charge admission.
How about a boat to/from the Tate? I'd like to see the Design Museum as the 'cultural attraction' at Potters' Fields with the existing building as an annexe - eg Design Classical and Design Modern. Another possibility would be affiliation with the V&A which has vast unseen collections. The present location is great in many ways, but it's not obvious how to get there if you don't know the area. I'm often asked for directions