dRMM Architects build the future is here at Design Museum using technology featured in the exhibition

The Design Museum’s new exhibition, The Future is Here: A New Industrial Revolution has been designed by dRMM (de Rijke Marsh Morgan Architects). The result is an exhibition that has itself been built using one of the digital manufacturing techniques explored by the exhibition content.

The practice responded to a brief that aimed to challenge the convention of contemporary galleries – both in terms of spatial arrangement and the usual neutral background. The perimeter of the Design Museum gallery space is exposed, painted pink, and there are no dividing walls.

Responding to the temporary nature of the design, dRMM chose to use recyclable, triple-layered, corrugated cardboard for the structure of the plinths.

The cardboard was chosen because it is lightweight, robust and locally manufactured. The plinths were constructed from digitally-cut segments using CNC machines.

The practice said that pink seemed the most unlikely of colours to use and therefore the most interesting. It offers a fresh take on the exhibition experience, conveying warmth within a space containing machines and advanced technology.

Satoshi Isono, Associate, dRMM Architects, said:

‘The exhibition layout for The Future is Here was designed with an aim at challenging the convention of contemporary galleries – both in terms of the spatial arrangement and the neutral background. Rather than the convention of a journey on a prescriptive route, we wanted the exhibits to be in free space so people could make their own connections from one piece to the next. We wanted visitors to take their own routes and feel free to go back to exhibits.’


24 July 2013 – 29 October 2013

The Design Museum is collaborating with the UK’s innovation agency, the Technology Strategy Board, to deliver a major new exhibition about the sweeping changes in manufacturing that are transforming our world.

New manufacturing techniques will involve the users of products as never before, revolutionising the role of the consumer. How we manufacture, fund, distribute, and buy everything from cars to shoes is progressing fast. The Future is Here shows what that means for all of us.

The boundaries between designer, maker and consumer are disappearing with a growing movement of ‘hacktivists’, who share and download digital designs online in order to customise them for new uses.

In a highly experimental move the museum will house the first ‘Factory’ of its kind where visitors can discover how 3D printing works and witness live production.The exhibition looks at what exactly drives innovation and how it can lead to increased productivity and economic growth. A visit will reveal how the new industrial revolution has the potential to affect everyone, radically altering our attitudes to the pace of change driven by new technology.

Mass customisation is a central story: from trainer manufacturers offering personalised shoes on a global scale, to 3D printed dolls with features that consumers can design and order online. A carbon loom invented by Lexus to weave car parts such as steering wheels and dashboards from strong carbon fibre is represented, and other exhibits include an open-source approach to architecture, the WikiHouse.

Emerging technologies and platforms such as crowd funding, social networking digital looms, online marketplaces, 3D printing, nanotechnology, biotech, networked manufacturing, CNC routing and open-source micro computing, are all removing the barriers of access to manufacturing. It is the role of designers and the design process to participate in exciting new technologies, so that more people than ever before can take part in the production of our physical world.

The Future is Here presents today’s emerging technologies that will become the growth sectors of tomorrow.

Deyan Sudjic, Director, Design Museum:

‘200 years ago what happened in Lancashire’s cotton mills and Cornwall’s tin mines changed the world. Now it’s the turn of Silicon Roundabout and the hacktivists.’

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts:

‘The UK is home to some of the most innovative companies in the world, and their designs are essential to keeping the UK at the front of the global race for manufacturing.

‘I have identified eight great technologies including robotics, regenerative medicine and advanced materials which I believe will play a role in boosting the UK economy. This exhibition provides an opportunity for visitors to see these ground-breaking technologies in action.’

Alex Newson, Curator, Design Museum:

‘Will changes in traditional manufacturing cause a reversal of the traditional manufacturing powerbases? Small-scale makers and sellers have typically produced the type of objects that factories don’t. But what if small companies, or even individuals, began making objects that were previously only viable, either technologically or economically, through mass- manufacture?’

David Bott, Director of Innovation Programmes at the Technology Strategy Board:

‘The role of the Technology Strategy Board is to sponsor exciting and high- value business-led innovation in the UK and we’re proud of the fact that over 60% of our R&D investment goes to small and medium sized companies, where so much innovation takes place. We’re delighted to support this exhibition as both a wonderful showcase for innovative, disruptive technologies – many of which are already having a profound effect on our lives – and as a snapshot of some of the businesses we’ve supported on their journey to commercial success.’