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Great building, poor exhibition

In 1837, the Danish writer Hans Christian Andersen wrote his “Kejserens nye Klæder” (‘The Emperor’s New Clothes’). Two tailors weave some new clothes for the Emperor. No one can see them because they were invisible, they had no substance at all, they did not exist.

London’s Design Museum has just (November 2016) moved into what used to be the Commonwealth Institute (‘CI’) in Holland Park. Its construction was completed in 1962. I remember visiting the CI in the early 1960s, when its gloomy interior housed exhibits from various parts of the Commonwealth. I was more impressed by the building’s then original and fantastic architecture than by its contents.

The CI building remained closed and disused from long before the beginning of this century until this year when it re-opened as the Design Museum. The building’s exterior has been well-restored, but is somewhat hidden from the road by two ugly ‘rectanguloid’ (or box-like) low-rise tower blocks, which are an affront to both good design and good town-planning. I imagine that letting or selling space in these two buildings helped pay for the restoration of the former CI building.

The interior of the old CI building has been scooped out and replaced by a wonderful new interior, an exciting space worthy of a museum that is dedicated to design.

Sadly, the exhibition fails miserably. Leaving the splendid atrium, the visitor enters a series of ‘galleries’ crammed with ‘icons’ of (mostly) 20th century design. The cluttered exhibition spaces reminded me of charity shops or jumble sales. The only difference between the museum and the latter is that the objects on display are in better condition than those in jumble sales or charity shops.

The newly located Design Museum made me think of Hans Christian Andersen. The building is splendid, both outside and inside, but the exhibition does not deserve such a fine building. The clothing is great, but the Emperor is missing.

I have made a VIDEO to show the building's interor.


  • ***NEW ADDRESS: 224-238 Kensington High St, Kensington, London W8 6AG****


Posted by ADAMYAMEY 06:21 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london kensington design_museum Comments (1)

DIVERSITY - Diverse City

A cultural mosaic

I have lived in London for most of my life. The few years that I lived outside the city made me realise how much I depend on the place.

London is actually a conglomeration of microcosms. Villages (e.g. Hampstead, Chelsea, Kensington, and Richmond, to name but a few) and towns (e.g. Westminster, Southwark, and Greenwich) have merged. There are settlements of immigrants, who have now become Londoners: Bangla, Punjabi, Greek Cypriot, Jewish, Arab, Chinese, Koreans, Turkish Cypriots, Gujuratis, and the list goes on and on. Like individual gems in a complicated piece of jewelry, each microcosm shines on its own but together the effect is a spectacular glittering ensemble.

It is very difficult to summarise why London means so much to me. It is ever changing, and always intriguing. It is wonderful to live amongst one of the most diversified populations in the world. In the small dental practice where I work,my colleagues are Poles, Iranians, Koreans, Lithuanians, Kenyans, Indians, Ugandans, Malaysians, and from time to time Mongolians. Within a stone's throw of where I live I can buy milk from Pakistanis, hire a cab driven by an Afghan, buy olives from a Greek, drink coffee made by an Italian, buy Prosciutto presunto actually) sliced by a Portuguese, kebabs from a Turk, have felafels cooked by an Israeli or by a 'Mesopotamian', noodles prepared by a Chinese, sushi made by Japanese, eat tandoori prepared by an Indian, have a chat with a Nigerian,and have money changed by a Syrian. There are even a few English in London!

I work 3 days a week, and often become a tourist in my own town on some of the other days. The variety of things available to do to enjoy one's spare time is almost infinite. To name but a few: cinema, theatre, alternative theatre, eating, drinking, exhibitions, museums, street performances, river-boating, shopping, walking, or just sitting and watching the world pass by.

Often, I feel sorry for the genuine tourist. There is so much for him or her to choose and not enough time to do enough of it.

As someone well-known once said - "When a man is tired of London, he's tired of life"

Posted by ADAMYAMEY 06:18 Archived in United Kingdom Tagged london england uk londres Comments (1)

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