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Terence Conran makes major gift to the Design Museum

Dezeen Wire:
co-founder of London's Design Museum Terence Conran has donated a cash gift of £7.5 million towards developing the museum's new home in south London.

The donation also includes the value of the sale of the lease of the current Design Museum building at Shad Thames, estimated to be £10 million.

The museum is relocating to the former Commonwealth Institute building in south London, originally designed by RMJM in the 1960s and currently being redeveloped by John Pawson.

See all our stories about the Design Museum here and all our stories about John Pawson here.

Here are some more details from the Design Museum:

Sir Terence Conran makes major gift to the Design Museum

The Trustees of the Design Museum announced today a major gift by the Conran Foundation, endowed by Sir Terence Conran towards the museum’s new development project. This will help to create the world’s leading museum of contemporary design and architecture in London.

Sir Terence Conran’s donation consists of a cash gift of £7.5m and the value of the sale of the lease of the current Design Museum building at Shad Thames valued in the region of £10m. This gift will bring the Conran Foundation’s support for the museum, and its predecessor, the Boilerhouse over the last 30 years to £50m.

Sir Terence Conran, who celebrates his 80th birthday in October this year, met the Prime Minister and Secretary of State for Culture Jeremy Hunt at 10 Downing Street today in recognition of his continued support for the Design Museum and this exciting new project.

The Design Museum plans to relocate from its current home at Shad Thames to the former Commonwealth Institute building, giving it three times more space in which to show a wider range of exhibitions, showcase its world‐class collection and extend its learning programme.

The remarkable 1960s Commonwealth Institute building has been practically unoccupied since 2001. Its refurbishment will give a neglected London icon a new life and purpose and will revitalise an important area of west London. In July 2010 the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea granted planning permission for 224 Kensington High Street Limited (a partnership between developers Chelsfield Partners and the IIchester Estate) for a scheme to modify the Grade 2* listed building. The project is expected to be completed by 2014.

The new museum’s home will be transformed by internationally acclaimed architects: John Pawson is to convert the interior, and the surrounding development is the vision of Rem Koolhaas’ OMA. The design team has been assisted by Lord Cunliffe, a leading member of the original architectural team for the Commonwealth Institute in 1958, and by James Sutherland, the building’s original structural engineer.

The capital budget for the project, including the site value is £77 million. The Design Museum has already secured a significant amount of the funding required in the form of contributions from the developer of the adjacent residential scheme, the generous gift from Sir Terence Conran, a first round pass from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and a number of other major gifts. The museum is undertaking a major fundraising campaign to raise the remaining funds required for the scheme, this will include the submission of a second round application for a total grant of £4.9 million from the HLF.

Sir Terence Conran comments ‘Moving to the Commonwealth Institute will allow all our dreams and ambitions for the Design Museum to come true, to create a world class space with the size and scope for the serious promotion and celebration of design and architecture in this country. I am also uplifted by the support we are receiving from Government, who recognise the enormous contribution the creative industries make to the economy and the quality of life of ordinary people. Design, manufacturing and business are completely interlinked and one cannot succeed without the other.’

Jeremy Hunt, Secretary of State for Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport adds ‘Sir Terence Conran has already made a remarkable contribution to the history of design. Through his Habitat and Conran stores, restaurants, books and the Design Museum he has had an extraordinary influence on the way we live and the way we view design. Sir Terence’s exceptionally generous gift to the Design Museum will not only help this excellent cultural institution move to a new home, but will also help showcase Britain’s ability to produce some of the world’s greatest designers and influence design on a global scale’

Deyan Sudjic, Director of Design Museum explains ‘Terence Conran has transformed Britain. His contribution to the way we live, eat, and shop over six decades has been enormous. The gift to the Design Museum is a hugely generous investment in the future. By making our ambition to move to the former Commonwealth Institute much more achievable, he makes possible a project that will give the museum three times as much space as it has now. The new Design Museum will be the definitive voice of contemporary design, reinforcing Britain's place as one of the world’s leading creative economies.’

Sir Terence Conran is one of the world’s best-known designers, restaurateurs and retailers. Born in 1931, he founded the Conran Design Studio in 1956 and later the Habitat chain of home furnishings stores that revolutionised the UK High Street in the 1960s and 1970s by bringing intelligent, modern design within reach of the general population. In the 1980s Habitat was expanded and following a series of acquisitions evolved into Storehouse plc, of which he retired as Chairman in 1990. Today he is the Chairman of Conran Holdings, a design group with restaurants, shops and an architecture and design practice operating all over the world. He has been Provost of the Royal College of Art since 2003.

In 1982 Sir Terence Conran established the forerunner of the Design Museum, the Boilerhouse, in the basement of the Victoria and Albert Museum. The success of this project led to the opening of the Design Museum in 1989 at its current location in Shad Thames made possible by a major donation by the Conran Foundation as part of its continued support since the early 1980s.

Later this year the Design Museum will celebrate Sir Terence Conran's career with a retrospective exhibition – Sir Terence Conran, The Way we Live Now, 16 November 2011 - 4 March 2012. This exhibition will explore Sir Terence Conran’s impact on contemporary life. The Design Museum will also host a panel debate at Tate Modern on 20 September 2011 with guest speakers celebrating Sir Terence Conran’s career.


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