When Sophie Conran, designer and daughter of legendary designer and retailer Sir Terence Conran, approached Koto Bolofo in 2012 to document the renovation of the spectacular new premises of London’s Design Museum, he knew he couldn’t say no. Founded in 1989 by Terence Conran, the museum has since become a leading institution devoted to all aspects of design—from architecture and fashion, to industrial, product and graphic design.
Following a long search, the former Commonwealth Institute, a Grade II* listed building on Kensington High Street, was chosen. With three times as much space as the original premises at Shad Thames, the museum had finally found a home appropriate to its ambitions. When Bolofo began photographing the location in 2012, it was a derelict shell, which over four years has now been transformed by John Pawson and his design team. Bolofo admits he is not an architecture photographer, but he found his vision by conceiving of the building as a “feminine object” and focusing on its suggestive curves and forms. The resulting photos, part documentation and part portrait, announce the museum’s re-birth and will form part of its opening program on 24 November 2016.
Moving the Design Museum to Kensington is the most important moment of my long career in design so far. It will allow all our dreams and ambitions for the 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. Sir Terence Conran