The Design Museum

If the Natural History Museum is the children’s delight, and the V&A the average artist’s paradise then the Design Museum is their old surly older brother, chain-smoking and looking at the world through disillusioned eyes. It has a rather sombre, reflective appearance to it, and the subject matter it concerns itself is rarely light. You go there if you have a specific question or interest, not for a general look around.

A word of warning: this is definitely a museum for children. In its whitewashed halls, the boisterous sound of young laughter and delight is decidedly absent. It’s replaced with critical mutterings, and the opinions of those that have real expertise in the area. The exhibitions are all relatively complex in both their literature and their presentation, better suited to discussion than they are to a child’s education.

That’s not to say that it isn’t interesting. If you want to learn about the subtleties of design without being patronised or having to fight through hordes of kids, this is the ideal place to do so. Hidden down a Tower Hill backalley, it offers a tranquil and grownup interpretation of one of the art world’s most underrated subjects.

Address : 28 Shad Thames, London SE1 2YD

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