Back seat role for Imagination

Imagination’s role in the Millennium Celebrations at Greenwich appears to have been slashed, following major changes at organiser Millennium Central. Stephen Bayley, newly appointed creative director at the organisation, confirms he plans to review all the design work so far completed for the project.

Bayley “will ensure overall design cohesion of the content” of the centrepiece dome, says a Millennium Central spokesman. He will also advise on the Greenwich exhibition, and on branding elements of regional projects.

Bayley says Imagination has done “an enormous amount of work” on the Greenwich exhibition. He adds that until now, nobody has acted as a client in the organisation of the celebrations. “That’s the job I have,” he says.

It was a job many felt rested with Imagination creative director Gary Withers. “With Bayley coming in, Withers’ role will be diminished,” says one source close to Millennium Central.

Millennium Central has opened a tendering process for 30m worth of design work. As required by law for major public projects, the process has been advertised in the Official Journal of the EC. Imagination is exempt from the tendering process, as it is classed as pre-qualified.

Jennie Page, chief executive of Millennium Central, is keen to involve a wide variety of designers. Bayley echoes her view: “My concern is to use the best design talent from around Europe.”

The organiser is thought to have become increasingly concerned about the pace of development at the Greenwich site.

Imagination has not carried out any work on the project since May when its temporary contract ended. The consultancy, and Millennium Central, have consistently denied any rift (DW 23 May).

Imagination says it welcomes Bayley’s appointment, but it does not know the size of its future role yet. A spokesman confirms that Bayley’s appointment means the end of Imagination’s “foster parent” status for the project.

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