London Design Museum begins quest for design team to transform Parabola

By Culture24 staff | 17 November 2009
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a modern tent shaped building with blue panels

The former Commonwelath Institute and new home to the Design Museum.© Luke Hayes

An international search for a designer to transform the interior the new premises of the Design Museum at the former Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington has begun.

The Parabola building will be turned into temporary and permanent exhibition spaces, including education, event, catering and retail facilities. An auditorium and associated office storage, circulation, back of house areas and "plant spaces" also need concocting.

Given Grade II listing status in 1988, the building was originally designed by Sir Robert Matthew, Johnson-Marshall and Partners, opening in 1962.

It closed as the Commonwealth Institute in 2002, and exhibits from the permanent Commonwealth exhibition were returned to Commonwealth countries, with the remainder donated to the British Empire and Commonwealth Museum in Bristol.

The Design Museum hopes the new building will continue to make them an internationally-recognised centre for modern design. Submissions for pre-qualification questionnaires must be made by December 4.

Contact Gardiner & Theobald LLP Management Services to obtain details of the pre-qualification questionnaire and supplemental information: Gardiner & Theobald LLP, 32 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3JT, or email for the attention of Craig Ward at

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