Entrepreneur and restauranteur Sir Terence Conran has given £7.5 million toward the construction of a new home for the Design Museum, in the old Commonwealth Institute in Kensington. He will also donate the lease value of the sale of the museum's current home, thought to be in the region of £10 million.
The museum, housed since 1989 in a former warehouse in Shad Thames, is looking to relocate by 2014, and Sir Terence's munificent contribution should go a long way toward meeting the cost of the project, which is part of a wider redevelopement of the Commonwealth Institute site. Conran's donation represents around 10% of the capital budget, and indeed, his financial support to the museum over the past three decades, dating back to when it was situated in the V&A's boilerhouse, now stands at over £30 million.
Overseeing the transformation of the Commonwealth Institute, a 1960s building with a distinctive paraboloid roof next to Holland Park in Kensington that has sat mostly unoccupied since 2004, into the Design Museum's new home will be John Pawson, the subject of a recent retrospective. The site will also be augmented by a series of new apartment blocks, masterplanned by OMA.