The jury is still out on what the long-term effect of the 2008 European Capital of Culture tag will have on Liverpool. After all, the year and its attendant events only started last month.
Concerns have been voiced about the content of the year – with only one major design event, Design Show Liverpool, and a smattering of architectural ventures planned in a year of what looks set to focus heavily on entertainment. There have been murmurings, too, about the financial strength of the venture, with the chief executive on long-term sick leave as festivities began.
You have to applaud Liverpool City Council nonetheless for its drive in getting the show on the road. Apart from the myriad architectural projects that have rendered the city a building site since it won European Capital of Culture status, it has agreed a number of design schemes to make it a more inviting place for visitors during 2008 and leave a legacy for the future.
Smaller works include the ‘dressing’ of the city – lighting, banners, signs and so on – but there are bigger developments, too. One such is the £500 000 makeover of Liverpool John Lennon Airport by design consultancy Broome Jenkins, with its distinctive 300m-long mural, column wraps and bus liveries by illustrator John McFaul. Videos created by River Media are displayed on plasma screens on the buses to welcome passengers to the North West region.