While work continues on site in Kensington High Street to lay the new museum’s floors and excavate the basement, in recent months the Project team has been busy talking to our audiences about the Design Museum’s plans for the future and listening to their ideas for the new building.
Since November last year, two rounds of consultation workshops have taken place, involving over 60 people: an introductory one, familiarising audiences with the museum’s plans and explaining what will happen in the next two years until we reopen in Kensington; and one focused on the permanent collection display on the new building’s second floor, discussing current ideas and themes. The round devoted to the permanent collection display allowed participants to also provide feedback on issues such as interpretation and interactivity.
All workshop sessions solicited many useful comments and generated a wealth of good ideas, which the Project team has been collating and evaluating to inform the ongoing work on the detailed design of the new museum spaces and the permanent collection display. The overriding sense is that our audiences would like the permanent collection display to reflect a variety and breadth of context and look far beyond the object. They want to see inside, behind and around everyday objects, both in a literal and metaphorical sense. They want stories, complexity without too much contradiction and to be challenged or moved by what they see, while also being able to recognise some of what they are looking at. In short, less text, more images, surprising juxtapositions and context, context, context.
More audience sessions will be taking place in the next few months, dealing with issues ranging from signage and wayfinding to the temporary exhibition programme. Thanks to all who have participated so far. We can’t wait to hear further thoughts and ideas on how to make the new Design Museum the most inspiring and engaging hub for contemporary design and architecture that it can be.
Rhiannon Green, Volunteer and Community Development Manager, and Oliver Winchester, Curator, Permanent Collection Display