What a fabulous place The Design Museum, in Kensington, is for a wheelchair user and seeing the exhibition, Azzedine Alaïa: The Couturier, on at The Design Museum, now to 7 October 2018, was just the chocolate buttercream icing on my Museum cake of deliciousness.
First, the embarrassing admission that I’ve been a member of The Design Museum since it opened but this was my first visit.
Not through lack of trying. If there is a caveat to all this wheelchair fabulousness regarding the Design Museum, it’s that there is no obvious close by parking and, being set back from Kensington High Street, it’s not immediately evident where the entrance is from the road.
The first time we went – to the member’s opening night – we were running late, it was dark, busy, cold, wet and we had no time to suss it all out so we left, missing the event, very grumpy.
The second time we tried to see an exhibition, we were, again (you may be sensing some regularity with this), late. Too late for admittance, shamefully on our part, but D did have just enough time to pop in on foot, find the entrance and scope out parking possibilities.
This third time, this time, yay, we made it.
The sun was shining. D dropped me onto the forecourt, in front of an office building on Kensington High Street, pulling into the alongside road, me rolling from car to pavement.
From this point, you are able to see The Design Centre behind the office block but you have to roll across the forecourt, following the signs, up a long gentle slope behind the offices you can see, where the entrance to The Design Museum is clearly visible past a pretty seating area, full of children playing in the water feature on the very hot day that we were there.
It was lovely. I waited in the shade of the entrance for D, who’d driven off to park. And that’s how easy it was to wheel as I’d gone, on my own, from drop off to Museum. I never usually do new terrain alone as bitter experience teaches most of us wheelies, I guess, that you can never be comfortable about access until you’ve done it once. Here, I was comfortable.
For parking, D says there is single yellow and meter parking in the back roads close by – though watch for valid times on the yellow lines as blue badges have no concessions here. In a wheelchair, I would recommend drop off and pick up from the street as I did it because the roads and pavements aren’t great – speaking powerchairs here, maybe not as bad for lighter, self-propelling chairs.
Inside, it was wheelie heaven. Level. Lifts. Spacious layout. Loved it.
I didn’t like the ground floor cafe much – too small, too busy and ‘yuck’ sticky food. The upper floor restaurant was closed at 4pm on a Sunday – though it’s not had great reviews but still thought we might try it just because the Museum was so nice to be in.
The exhibition was just my thing. I’m old enough to remember Alaïa first time around.
The exhibition space is really nice with plenty of room to wheel, some landmark Alaïa designs, lovely artistic input and some films from way back with some very young ‘Supers’, including Naomi, Christy and Linda (if you don’t know who they are … no hope, darling).
I’ve attached some photos we took so you, like us, will marvel at women who are that tall and that thin.
Fashionista and Wheelie Fabulous. Go see it.