All about Design

London’s new Design Museum has opened. This has been created within the skin of an existing building - the Grade II former Commonwealth Institute, famous for its dramatic parabolic copper roof.

Troldtekt Design Museum
Photo: Alex Upton, Gareth Gardner, Charles Hosea

With the emphasis on the display and teaching of design, the priority for UK architect John Pawson and Dutch architects OMA was as much about the building envelope itself as the interior products used. This is one reason why Troldtekt acoustic panels were chosen in order to tie internal spaces together with a visually attractive textured surface which has superior acoustic performance.

Significant and complex refurbishment works were carried out, including the wholesale reconfiguration of the structure and basement excavation to increase floor area and organisational efficiency, while balancing the retention of the dramatic views to the underside as agreed with heritage officers. The refurbishment was realised while retaining the renowned parabolic copper roof in-situ, which required significant engineering skill from Arup and building contractor Mace.

The facades have been completely replaced to fulfil contemporary technical building standards. The glazing was redesigned and replaced to retain the pattern of the fenestration and the blue-glass appearance of the original building. This new system permits controlled daylight into and views out of future museum spaces. Original stained glass panels were also removed, refurbished and reinstated to be enjoyed by visitors.

The Troldtekt ultrafine texture panels have been installed in all areas where a peaceful and studious atmosphere was required, such as the library, study and lecture rooms and over the very large space which houses the restaurant, bar and relaxing areas. Here there are dramatic views of Holland Park outside, down into the central atrium and up towards the dramatic exposed roof structure above.