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January 25, 2012

£80m plan to relocate London museum unveiled

US-based private equity firm Noble Investment (Noble) has announced the acquisition of newly renovated Residence Inn by Marriott Tampa Downtown in the business and financial district of the Tampa Bay area.

The Design Museum in Shad Thames, London, UK, has announced an £80m plan to relocate the museum to the former Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington, London, in 2014.

British architect John Pawson and Dutch architect OMA have produced the designs for the new site. John Pawson has redesigned the interior of the Grade II-listed building and OMA has planned the surrounding residential development. UK Culture Minister Ed Vaizey said the UK leads the world in design and architecture, and it is entirely appropriate that the world’s greatest design museum should be created at this iconic London landmark.

"The new Design Museum will be a truly outstanding visitor attraction, learning resource and celebration of the best of British creativity," Vaizey said.

The 1960s-era Commonwealth Institute has been unoccupied for over a decade; the renovation of the neglected London landmark is intended to give the building a purpose and revitalise an important area of west London. The new Design Museum will have around 10,000m2 of floorspace spread over five floors, giving the museum three times more space to showcase its collection. The main exhibition space will be located on the ground floor, which will also include a cafe, a bookshop and a design store.

The museum is expected to double its visitor numbers to 500,000 a year after the move, and will greatly expand its education and public events programme. The Design Museum’s fundraising target is £44.66m, 60% of which has been secured from individuals, trusts and foundations. A £17m donation came from the Conran Foundation, as well as an expected £4.95m Heritage Lottery Fund grant and a range of other donations.

Architect John Pawson said that the most exciting thing about the project is that, at the end of it all, London will have a world-class museum of design, with galleries for permanent and temporary exhibitions, education spaces and a library.

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