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In With the Old/New

It's out with the old, and in with the old/new. London's Design Museum has left its former Thames-front home near Tower Bridge to open its new doors this Thursday, in a 1960s refurbished building in High Street Kensington. With a parabolic ceiling, a large atrium, lots of light and a few other surprises, the London Design Museum invited us and our friends at Studio NAARO to come take a look at its new premises, designed by John Pawson along with OMA and Allies and Morrison.


Pictured above: Spanning the length of the building, the concrete roof rises on two opposed corners to create a manta ray-like structure.


John Pawson is well known for the design of simple but sensuously rich spaces and for his choice of refined materials. The Design Museum is his first major public work.

The museum, which forms the heart of the new Holland Green residential development, is located next to the southern entrance to Holland Park on Kensington High Street.

Wooden bench with concealed lighting, a recurrent element within Pawson’s design. The bench spans one side of the Weston Mezzanine, sitting in front of a series of marble panels. Conserved from the original building, these panels had previously been installed in the Imperial Institute in 1857.

The circulatory heart of Pawson’s design is formed by an oak staircases.


The central atrium of the museum allows its visitors views up to the hyperbolic paraboloid roof.

In line with his design philosophy, Pawson created a series of calm and atmospheric spaces.

On the top floor visitors can experience getting within almost touching distance of the roof.

The building’s concrete roof and distinctive façade have been restored by OMA, Allies and Morrison and Arup.


– All images courtesy of Studio NAARO.