When searching for the next venue to host the IBA ceremony the team were looking for a space that would be every bit as impactful as the Ham Yard which had been the awards’ home for the previous two years. We needed somewhere with strong links to the design community that would resonate with bloggers as much as the striking Dive Bar and Ham Yard theatre did. The newly opened Design Museum quickly sprang to mind when scouring the capital for potential locations and it soon became the forerunner for the 2017 venue. The IBA Blog takes a look at the new space…
Designed by John Pawson, the Design Museum opened in its new location in November 2016 where it made waves in the design world as soon as it was launched. On Kensington High Street, the new building includes two major temporary gallery spaces, a free permanent collection display, auditorium studios, library archive and new learning facilities. Housed in a landmark grade II listed building from the 1960s, the new Design Museum is a culmination of a five-year construction process carried out by OMA, Allies and Morrison and Arup.
Originally founded by Sir Terence Conran in 1989, the Design Museum was first housed in a former banana ripening warehouse on Shad Thames where it showcased many critically acclaimed exhibitions throughout the years. The build of the new site began in 2012 and it is the first major public work of John Pawson, a designer famed for his ability to create simple yet sensuously rich spaces and for his refined use of materials. His previous projects include an New York apartment building for Ian Schrager, the Sackler Crossing in Kew Gardens and Christopher Kane’s first London store.
Sitting proudly on Kensington High Street, next to the southern entrance of Holland park it forms the heart of the new Holland Green residential development and the Design Museum’s restaurant also looks over this green space. A complex renovation system was carried out by the architects and John Pawson to bring the original post-war architecture back into use, and radical engineering techniques were utilised throughout. The concrete floors were removed using a process which involved propping the roof on a temporary steel structure 20 metres above ground, whilst the original façade was replaced with a double glazed skin which improved insulation and allowed daylight in.
Inside the Design Museum is even more striking. Opening to a central atrium with striking views of the iconic hyperbolic paraboloid roof, this element spans the entire length of the building, rising at two corners to form a manta ray-like structure. The galleries, studios and learning spaces are arranged like an opencast mine surrounding the main atrium to allow visitors to navigate the building with ease. The awards evening will be hosted in the beautiful atrium itself, before the shortlisted bloggers and other attendees take their seeats in the 200 person Bakala Auditorium at the basement level.