London life

Koto Bolofo shoots the Commonwealth Institute



Koto Bolofo Commonwealth Institute

One for architecture buffs during Design Week: Koto Bolofo’s photo exhibition at 34 Cork Street. ‘Construction Sight’ shows Bolofo’s documenting of the transformation of the Commonwealth Institute into the Design Museum (which is moving from Shad Thames to Kensington High Street in November). The 1962 Grade II-listed building is special to me as I went past it every day for six years on my way to school. It’s at the entrance to Holland Park, which is also one of the loveliest parks in London, especially in summer. And on a completely selfish note, I’m so glad not to have to trek south to visit the Design Museum any more, the new site is so much closer to home 😝.

The building has been completely redesigned by John Pawson and as expected, there’s huge anticipation around its reopening. Unfortunately, the site is slightly obliterated by fancy flats that have appeared where the flag poles used to stand. That’s a shame as they could have had something more interesting to lead up to the entrance of the museum. On the other hand, I’m thrilled to discover there will be a Conran-owned cafe and restaurant with views over the park. Kensington High Street just got interesting again.

Bolofo talks about photographing the building (his first foray into architectural photography) to Wallpaper magazine here, and says, “I was doing 8-12 second exposures, which I’d never done before, so I wasn’t even sure the pictures were going to come out… I fell in love with the building. I photographed it like I would photograph a woman – for me, it had so much femininity. The lines, the curves, there is absolutely nothing masculine about it.”

Construction Sight is at 34 Cork Street, Mayfair, W1S 3NU until 24th September (10am-6pm)

WORDS: Disneyrollergirl/Navaz Batliwalla
IMAGE: Koto Bolofo
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