Olympics expo is under threat

The Imagination-designed Atlanta expo planned to run alongside the 1996 Olympics is in jeopardy this week with organisers reportedly short of the cash needed. The ú67m project faces the axe as its US developers Tom Taber and James Cumming review their cost plans. Both were in funding meetings as Design Week went to press.

Imagination’s Atlanta office won the job in March 1994 and sent a number of senior London-based designers to work with US chief executive Brian Shepherd on all aspects of the expo’s design. This week Shepherd was non-committal about the 10ha event’s chances of survival.

“The concepts could be revised or down-sized – a number of options are open,” says Shepherd. But he admits: “The organisers may decide not to do it at all. The concepts remain intact but the degree to which they will happen depends on the commitment of the organisers and sponsors.”

Shepherd says the consultancy has been paid for all work to date and continues to be retained as consultant by the organisers.

“Hopefully, we’ll know more next month, but unless we start work quickly, we won’t be able to execute the project to schedule,” adds Shepherd.

The expo was planned to run for six months to cash in on the centennial Olympics in Atlanta. Imagination was appointed to handle all design, from masterplanning through to graphics, and was also briefed to run the expo.

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