fit-out skills of Willmott Dixon Interiors played a crucial role in creating a new home for Design Museum inside the former 1960s Grade 2 listed Commonwealth
Institute in Kensington.
refurbishment specialist spent nearly 12 months creating a new interior capable
of hosting some of the biggest cultural design icons such as the first laptop
by UK designer Bill Moggridge, AK47 assault rifle by Russian designer Mikhail
Kalashnikov and road signs by typographers Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert.
The world class space aims to be a new cathedral of design showcasing how it makes
a difference to the quality of life of people.
fit-out work covered six floors from lower basement up to a second floor to
meet design brief specified by architects John Pawson and OMA. Willmott Dixon
Interiors deputy managing director Graham Shaw explains, “Our build part was
the permanent exhibition, so it couldn’t overwhelm the temporary exhibitions.
The quality of the finishes was key – we delivered finite detail, such as the
second floor, which is oak with oak panelling and white floors.”
adds, “There was a lot of metal and timber cladding and getting those junctions
with the floors and ceilings was important.”
team also had to ensure that none of the M&E work was visible in certain
sections, such as the second floor, which features designer-in-residence rooms.
This involved taking up positions in various parts of the building to make sure
that no M&E work could be seen and where it was, be promptly hidden.
Design Museum opens its doors in Kensington to the public on 24 November after
moving from its old home in Shad Thames. The new home provides three times as
much space as its former location, allowing it to expand its exhibitions and
cater for over 650,000 visitors per year who can enter free of charge.
Dixon Interiors is well known for its work with listed buildings and those of
cultural significance such as The London School of Economics and the Royal
Holloway University, respecting their unique characteristics whilst introducing
Hart, chief operating officer for Willmott Dixon Interiors said “We are very
proud to have completed the fit out and refurbishment of the museum, especially
as we have a long track record of restoring listed buildings into modern spaces
fit for the 21st century. We have used our experience to deliver an exceptional
home that will showcase our rich cultural heritage.”
Design Museum achieved a BREEAM rating of “very good”; with 100% of the timber
used procured from sustainable sources and 100% of non-hazardous waste diverted