Design Museum's permanent
collection goes on show

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Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things at the Design Museum

News: an exhibition of the Design Museum's permanent collection has opened at the museum in London.

Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things at the Design Museum

Entitled Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things, the display on the top floor of the Design Museum is divided into six themes or "stories", with objects from the collection displayed on shelving alongside contextual images and documents.

Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things at the Design Museum

The Identity & Design section (above) features items that contribute to national identity such as the red K2 Phone box by Giles Gilbert Scott, UK road signage by Jock Kinneir and Margaret Calvert, and the London 2012 logo Wolff Olins.

Taste charts the influence of modernism on British design and includes pieces by Marcel Breuer and Erno Goldfinger, while Why We Collect features readymades from Jasper Morrison's table made of bicycle handlebars to the Campana Brothers' Cartoon Chair made of soft toys.

Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things at the Design Museum

Materials & Process (above) charts the development of plastic technology, Icons charts iterations of the Anglepoise lamp (below) and the final section focusses on Fashion from the 1960s to the 1990s.

Director of the Design Museum Deyan Sudjic said: "Design matters at every level. It is what makes daily life a little better; it is about the big economic changes that the world is going through. It is about the designers and the manufacturers, but it is also about the users. It is a unique way of making sense of the world around us."

Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things at the Design Museum

The exhibition was designed by London designer Gitta Gschwendtner and primarily consists of rough, chunky shelving units stained in two colours to highlight the wood grain. "I wanted it to be quite serious, but not too much like an old museum," Gschwendtner told Dezeen.

The display will be on show until the museum moves to its new home next year in the former Commonwealth Institute building in south London, originally designed by RMJM in the 1960s and currently being redeveloped by John Pawson.

Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things at the Design Museum

The new venue will showcase the institution's entire collection, which currently comprises 3000 objects including an AK-47 rifle.

The collection can also be explored via the Design Museum Collection App, for which Dezeen made a series of movies with Deyan Sudjic charting development of design for listening to music, driving, communication, computing and more. Watch all the Design Museum Collection App movies here.

Extraordinary Stories about Ordinary Things at the Design Museum

Update: Dezeen editor-in-chief Marcus Fairs wonders why London's Design Museum is so reluctant to talk about money in his latest Opinion column, arguing that design classics "aren't theoretical exercises but sophisticated appeals to the wallet."

See all our stories about the Design Museum »

Credits: exhibition identity and signage by A2/SW/HK.