The Design Museum has opened at its new home in the old Commonwealth Institute in Kensington High Street. Architects OMA and Allies and Morrison and engineers Arup restored the roof and façade of the Sixties building, while minimalist architectural designer John Pawson restored the interior.
There’s a free permanent exhibition space, two temporary galleries, a restaurant and, in the soaring atrium, the museum shop, packed with design books, magazines and design classics.
SIR PAUL SMITH
How apt that Smith, an advocate of colour and wit in fashion, should have picked this whimsical kettle, designed in 1983 by Richard Sapper for Alessi. Sapper said kettles should be fun. It’s not in the museum shop, but you can buy it at alessi.com for £99.95. It features a whistle that plays a melody when the water boils.
Smith’s choice of the 1970 Boby trolley in egg-yolk yellow (£400) also mirrors his taste for the fun and funky. This multi-purpose storage unit, by Italian designer Joe Colombo, is a classic example of postwar pop design whose appeal endures. Buy it now.
Smith says: “Today this use of moulded plastic seems common and familiar to us but when it was first introduced, it had never been seen before.”
MUSEUM HEAD OF RETAIL
The red Spun chair by Thomas Heatherwick for Magis (£335) is a favourite because it reminds me of spinning around as a child, only in an object of design! Buy it now.
And the Vitra wooden doll No7, designed by Alexander Girard (£85). I can relate to her curves and expressions. In fact, I am collecting the whole set. Buy it now.
SIR TERENCE CONRAN
This alert-looking wooden bird (£130) is a reproduction by Vitra of one once owned by 20th-century designers Charles and Ray Eames. It instantly reminds Conran of the Eameses, his design heroes.
“This curious bird was an artefact they treasured…and stood in the centre of their living room for over 50 years,” he says. Buy it now.
The Brown Betty teapot (from £12) might seem an unlikely design classic but, as Conran recalls, it was “one of the first, and most successful items sold at Habitat”, which he first opened in Chelsea in 1964. “It symbolised Habitat’s philosophy — cheap, utilitarian, unpretentious and cheerful.”
Conran also picked this copper bowl (£1,010), from John Pawson’s 5 Objects homeware collection. “This collection is elegant, quiet and luscious.” Buy it now.
DIRECTOR OF THE MUSEUM
Sudjic’s choice of an Anglepoise light was partly influenced by nostalgia. “The first piece of design I bought, as a spotty teenager, was an Anglepoise — a Seventies design in a mustard shade.”
This is a Paul Smith 2014 interpretation (£160) of the Type75 lamp originally created by Anglepoise design director Sir Kenneth Grange in 2005. Smith picked out its various components in pastels or acid-bright hues. Buy it now.
This year is the 80th anniversary of Finnish architect and designer Alvar Aalto’s iconic glass vase (£46), first produced in 1936 for Finnish brand Iittala. Its softly billowing form, inspired by the fringes of lakes, marked a departure from the hard-edged modernism of the Twenties.
Today, just as they were then, the vases are mouth-blown at Iittala’s factory. Pawson says: “I went to Finland and stayed in the Villa Mairea, designed in the Thirties by Aalto, and remember driving past the lakes that inspired the vase.” Buy it now.
The graceful contours of the Butterfly stool (£467), which fuses two pieces of bent maple wood, mimic a butterfly’s wings — hence its name. It was created in 1956 by Japanese designer Sori Yanagi. Pawson has been a fan of his ever since buying a Yanagi-designed Sellotape dispenser in the Seventies.
Of McQuirk’s choices, we zeroed in on this practical yet stylish stool in blond wood with a black lino-lined seat (£180) — an Alvar Aalto creation. The first version was made in 1933 for Aalto’s Viipuri Library in Finland.
McQuirk describes this stackable stool as an “ever-handy, modest classic”. It’s a piece that has proved perennially popular: being stackable and space-saving, it’s perfect for all homes.
My design London: where designers find their inspiration
My design London: where designers find their inspiration
1/15 Tamsie Thomson, The London Festival of Architecture director
Tamsie Thomson loves ferreting through skips and junk shops for great finds to refurbish. London "through and through", she reveals her favourite - and secret - city spaces.
> Scroll right for more London spaces and shops favoured by top designers and creatives...
2/15 Rebecca Hossain, The Design Museum
The Design Museum's Rebecca Hossain reveals her interiors inspirations, favourite markets and go-to secret escape in Herne Hill.
3/15 Marcus Fairs, founder of Dezeen
The founder of Dezeen - widely regarded as one of the world’s most influential design websites - reveals his top makers, studios and West End hangouts.
4/15 Tricia Guild, Designers Guild founder
The founder of Designers Guild reveals her top London spots and how-to tips for creating a room of your own.
5/15 Wayne Hemingway, Designer
London designer Wayne Hemingway talks about the city’s great vintage shops, street markets and architecture.
6/15 Catherine Lock, The New Craftsmen creative director
Quirky antiques, simple Georgian furniture and Scandinavian mid-century modern design are just some of the things Catherine Lock loves.
7/15 Celia Joicey, Fashion and Textile Museum
The head of Bermondsey's Fashion and Textile Museum, Celia Joicey loves shopping in small boutiques and thinks it would be great to have a big exhibition that celebrates the rich history of London shops.
8/15 Kit Kemp, interior designer
Kit Kemp’s latest London hotel is a regular celeb haunt. An interior designer by trade and a passionate collector she thinks we should respect our British artists more and shares her insider tips on where to discover great finds in the city...
9/15 Charlie Gilkes, bar and restaurant owner
Bar, restaurant and club owner, Charlie Gilkes reveals the inspiration behind his quirky design hotspots including Cahoots and Mr Fogg's Tavern and his favourite places to shop and visit in London...
10/15 Chrissie Rucker, The White Company founder
Chrissie Rucker, founder of The White Company, let's us in on the secrets of her favourite interiors shop, a 17th-century Italian pharmacy, and tells us why she always looks up when in London...
11/15 Tom Bartlett, designer
Architectural designer Tom Bartlett lives in multicultural Kensal Green, loves finding eccentric surprises in London’s streetscapes and has a contact book packed with the city’s happening shops and suppliers.
Portrait image by Joakim Blockstrom
12/15 Deyan Sudjic, Design Museum director
Deyan Sudjic lives in Camden, likes visiting furniture designer and manufacturer Sheridan Coakley's studio shop, and enjoys going to the Gagosian King’s Cross gallery.
13/15 Jenny Beavan, costume designer
London-born Jenny Beavan is one of our greatest costume designers, having worked on Room With A View, The King's Speech and Sherlock Holmes. Here she shares her favourite places to shop and visit in the city.
14/15 Gabriele Finaldi, National Gallery director
There is a Finaldi enclave in Catford, where the National Gallery director grew up and still lives, with his family nearby. His London hitlist includes the Dulwich Picture Gallery, the city’s churches and the Fourth Plinth...
15/15 David Linley, Christie's chairman and furniture maker
Furniture maker and Christie’s chairman Viscount Linley has had a 30 year career in design. Here he recalls coffee breaks with David Bowie and shares his must-visit London shops and secret city spaces.