please empty your brain below

I miss seeing the flags and the view from the High Street.
I visited several times in its Commonwealth days as I knew someone who worked there.
Nice to know that the building is back in use and open to the public.
Thanks for your detailed review.
The old layout had a 'Bond Villain' feel about it, the new layout says 'Shopping Centre'.

Still don't like that it's a Design 'Museum', feels like the wrong word, a good design is always just that, regardless of era.
I rather liked its former home on the Thames. What will happen to that?
your photography is excellent
Jerym has beaten me to it - I agree that is an excellent set of photos, DG.
I visited the new DM yesterday. I was very disappointed by the experience. Only a few days in and the blonde wood flooring was grubby and showing the accurate data dust and rubbish. The permanent collection was, I thought, cramped and stuffed into the attic. I had hoped the move would enable more space and time for a deeper exploration of the thoughts behind the articles.
Of course the move has also enabled many more facilities, but whilst all the additional meeting rooms etc are given pride of place the collection is I felt grudgingly accommodated.
Overall I thought the building was was screaming 'look at me'. I might not have minded so much if there was more of the original Commonwealth building on show but the Corran stripped back look is getting a little dated now.
But definitely go and look for yourself. Either way it's worth it.
I also remember visiting the CI as a child. The memories that still stand out are the flags, the building, and one particular exhibit: an embroidered kite from somewhere like Indonesia which was hung over one of the walkways.


Wow, I never thought I'd be seeing that kite again. (Apparently from Malaysia, not Indonesia)
I still have a mug bought at the Commonwealth Institute in the 1970's.

As well as the flags I remember a stuffed giraffe that I think was positioned so that you saw it at two levels and could stare at it face to face despite its height which was obviously enormous to a child.

In later years a giant buddah resided alongside the flags.
The presence of that stupid Starck lemon squeezer tells me all I need to know about the design museum's priorities: aesthetics over function, visual impact over genuine good design.
I visited on opening day - the Designer Maker User exhibit wasn't too packed, so got a good chance to have a wander around. It's not all form over function, Steve - the presence of a blue IKEA bag and some Bic Cristal biros (available in the gift shop, natch), a parking meter and some Anglepoise lamps in the collection are some of many examples of that.

Having not been to the building when it was the Commonwealth Institute, I didn't get to see what I was missing - the roof was impressive enough from the outside but I did feel that I was probably missing the grandest view from the outside. Having had a look at Malcolm's photos, it seems it's lost its Bond Villan Lair aesthetic.

Oh, and the Designs of the Year had quite a few interesting things on display - somewhat ironically the worst designed thing in the room was the electronic voting booth at the end. I'm still not quite sure if I successfully cast my vote.

here are my photos, if anyone's interested.
There used to be The Design Centre in the Haymarket which featured the best of British design. Its iconic triangular label of approval was often featured in product promotions and seen dangling from goods in shops.

Sadly it closed in 1998.

I'll have to visit the Design Museum and see how it compares. But the name seems a bit odd, it doesn't lend itself to any form of endorsement for modern products.
I thought all restaurants and cafes were obliged to display their menu and price list where you can see it without entering the premises
Thanks for the review DG - I have put it on the "to visit" list.

Like you I was underwhelmed by the previous incarnation - I once visited for free as I was working with an exhibition sponsor but came away with the feeling that if I had paid for the main exhibition I would want my money back...

@dan, as I understand it the building in Shad Thames was acquired by the Zaha Hadid Foundation before the architect's recent death. Future plans to be determined as far as I am aware.
Nice photos, Martin

I've got to admit I was never really taken with the contents of the old Design Museum, but (always a sucker for pretty lights) I did take better liking to the building after passing it one night and seeing it like this.

I'm pretty sure it was still the DM when I took that: they still had the 'display cabinet' outside and in it was a Renault concept car
I like how the Commonwealth is the bits of the map NOT coloured red.
@ Dan

Perhaps the former site will be turned into 'designer' apartments?
Like many I visited as a schoolboy years ago. Remember it well. All those flags outside stirring.

Browsing through the exhibits Friday (which was much too crowded) missing was a Sony Walkman cassette player with the button you pushed up to play, and pulled down to stop... and left or right to f/forward/rewind.
A classic missing design faux pas.

The phones and typewriters hit the spot for me.
Will return once it has quietened down, but agree with DG that the extra stuff is poor value for money.
Fay Maschler ate at the Parabola restaurant/bar so that we needn't:

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