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Design Museum London

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by Kat Parr Mackintosh (subscribe)
Young and coffee in varying degrees, Kat also says stuff @ThoroughlyMode
Published February 22nd 2011
Let me be bold and ask you a question: when the word design is mentioned what do you think of?
Do you run though a mental list that includes art, architecture, fashion and the invention of ingenious products? If not then you should be, and if you take the Design Museum London's definition for the word, then you should be running though a list that's even longer. In their definition design includes anything that makes the world better, more efficient, safer or more beautiful.
Measuring bottles
Measuring bottles

In this museum, even the toilets are an attraction. They're designed by biomorphic influenced designer, Marc Newson. While they're not officially part of the exhibition, they may as well be, as it includes industrial design, furniture design, graphics and all sorts of beautiful, clever creations.

One laptop per child
One laptop per child
The Design Museum London is also very contemporary some of the pieces in the museum's collection may make you think that it's painfully modern. (Surely there's no real need for me to dress like a space man if I'm never planning to get off-world is there?) But that's all part of the Design Museum's plan to make design informative, entertaining, engaging and most importantly relevant to the country's cultural agenda. That sounds like high-design-speak but basically means that we all think about these things and appreciate them a bit more so that greater value is placed on good design all over the country.

Motorway sign
Motorway sign
It sounds arty, but they actually do it in a really accessible way, by having exhibitions here that celebrate good design in fashion and furniture, good design in car manufacturing, good architectural design, good video game design and good product design. So when you visit the museum as well as the uber clever stuff, you're also going to see items that you recognise and hopefully appreciate a bit more out of context.

It's also got some great design-y art as well as all the arty design.

Tree trunk bench
Tree trunk bench
As far as museums go the Design Museum is very new, it was founded in 1989. The building it's housed in wasn't originally this 1930s-era-stylish, it used to be a banana factory, which is all well and good for bananas, but if you want to house the very best in modern art and design then you need to have a larger cache of cool than that. Terrance Conran was one of the leading figures behind the conversion and also contributed a generous slice of the funding.

Please note: photography is not permitted, but sketching is encouraged. This speaks even greater tomes about the DML's ethos.
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Why? It celebrates both 'clever' and 'beautiful' and the convergence of the two
When: Daily 10am - 5.45pm Last admission at 5.15pm
Where: Shad Thames, City of London SE1 2YD, United Kingdom, nearest station Tower Hill
Cost: 11 adults 10 concessions 7 students
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