So what's it like? That's what I've been thinking since The Design Museum opened at it's new home in the former Commonwealth Institute on Kensington High Street. After a failed attempt to get in on Saturday (they were queuing out of the door. Seriously don't try to go there on the weekend yet) I got my first look today.....
With the re-design by architect John Pawson of the building, which features a hyperbolic paraboloid roof (translation: it's a very exciting shape), of course I was expecting minimal but the place is also very subdued with low level lighting and a softer palette of colours (as opposed to a crisp minimal white).
The obvious star of the show was the foyer/atrium but this is at the expense of the exhibits being exiled to the sides and basement leaving an entire mezzanine floor empty making it feel more like a John Pawson meditative space than an exciting museum bursting with interesting design pieces. The permanent collection is stuffed in on one side of the top floor with a (fully booked at lunchtime) restaurant shoe-horned in on the other. Unfortunately, the more accessible cafe on the ground floor is tiny and I think that the seating on the central staircase ruins its grandeur.
So what did I like? The Sackler Library, which is open to the public and contains hundreds of design books is definitely worth a visit as here the simplistic space works well and you could spend hours perusing the design tomes and magazines. The members bar is cosier, smart and well furnished and I could happily spend more time here too (for £65) and whilst it's not a museum purely for interior design, I felt that they'd awarded a fair amount of space to it, so of course I liked that.
Finally the annual 'Beazley Designs of the Year' exhibition is great with masses of fantastic and ingenious creations, with my favourite candidate, Dreamland in Margate, being the public vote fave so far.
So in summary, the building is a larger and calmer backdrop for the displays but for a museum with the chance to expand they certainly haven't maximise on the square footage they have. Still, do go there and see for yourself.
I've just checked my inbox and every man and his dog have emailed to tell me that they're offering a discount. Black Friday is here. So let's take a quick interior design look at who you can spend your hard-earned with today.
Does your kitchen seem plain, your bathroom feel sad and your hallway look cold? Yes, well let's talk about tiles. At The Open Plan we get very excited about tiles (yes, we're a little sad) so we'd like to share our best home interiors finds and advice with you. So here's a list of our favourite tile shops for when you're looking for the Wow! factor.
You can put tiles pretty much anywhere to add colour, pattern, texture or a gloss finish. I recently spotted and adore this remarkable and original tiled ceiling in new London restaurant Babaji - stunning!
I would however take advice from a professional tiler before attempting a tiled ceiling *thinks of health and safety issues.
For the aesthetics, versatility and practicality of tiling I cannot hype tiles enough. They can range from 3p to £300 a tile and you can cover as much or as little of any surface you desire from walls and floors to chimney breasts and kitchen worktops (I do love a tiled contertop and predict their return as well as the use of coloured grout).
Should you need anymore convincing or advice on tiles then please do Contact Us
In the meantime here's a list of the tile materials above and where you can use them - Don't mention it.....
1. Cement - Walls, Worktops and Floors
2. Ceramic - Wall, Worktops and Shelves
3. Porcelain - Walls and Floors
4. Cement - Walls, Worktops and Floors
5. Ceramic - Wall, Worktops and Shelves
6. Ceramic -Wall, Worktops and Shelves
7. Encaustic - Walls, Worktops and Floors
8. Glass - Walls
9. Limestone - Walls, Worktops and Floors
10. Metal - Walls
11. Ceramic - Wall, Worktops and Shelves
12. Cement - Walls, Worktops and Floors
13. Ceramic - Wall, Worktops and Shelves
14. Metal - Walls
15. Cement - Walls, Worktops and Floors
When you paint do you go expensive or cheap? Do you favour brands such as Farrow & Ball and Fired Earth or do you think that Crown and own brands do the same job? Let us know.
Personally, I favour a mix of higher priced brands and trade names on occasion such as Johnstone's and Macpherson but I do find that the more expensive paints offer better coverage and colour intensity.
Here's an interesting debate on the topic from The Guardian which makes for good reading if you're about to change your home interiors.
Read it here
Need more advice on this? Then do get in touch
Just picked up Fired Earth's 'The Paint Edit' mini brochure and wanted to share. Also on their website there are some daring and some really soothing colour combo's used to great effect so plenty of inspiration to be had. Which is your favourite 1-6?
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One of London's Best Interiors Bloggers (Ideal Home magazine), The Open Plan Interior Design, London produces contemporary interiors for homes and business' and this very useful home interiors blog