From an old banana warehouse by Tower Bridge to South Kensington's cultural centre (close to the Royal College of Art, the V&A, the Science Museum, the Natural History Museum and the Serpentine Gallery); not a bad move, for London's Design Museum. Founded in 1989 by Terence Conran, the museum's new home is in the former Commonwealth Institute, a modernist structure designed by RMJM and originally opened in 1962. The building has been beautifully converted by John Pawson, with interiors by Willmott Dixon. Warm timber, raw exposed concrete, indirect handrail lighting and soft white marble form the space's core palette. A striking central staircase creates a place to sit and take in the generous atrium, dominated by a spectacular dipping roof structure.
The museum features a coffee shop, artists' studios, a design and architecture library - and, interestingly, unisex toilets! On the top floor, an exhibition titled 'Designer Maker User' showcases almost 1000 products from the museum's collection, and traces the connection between the creative visonaries, manufacturers and consumers behind some of the most influential design objects of the 20th and 21st centuries.