It will be no surprise to those who have been following the Designs of the Time saga that Cornwall is to be the focus for Dott in 2010 (see News, page 3). The West Country county has long been tipped as the next region to benefit from the Design Council’s attentions. The question was whether it would be the only region in the next round of the Dott initiative or whether it would share the honours – and the cash.
Cornwall is well equipped to go it alone as a Dott region. CPR Regeneration, an urban regeneration company set up in 2002 with funds from Cornwall County Council and the South West of England Regional Development Agency, among others, is already bringing new life to the 8km stretch linking Cambourne, Pool and Redruth, and the Heartlands project by London architect Dransfield Owens de Souza for Kerrier District Council will include a World Heritage Site visitor centre, restaurant and artists’ colony on the site of the old Robinson’s Shaft tin mine.
Meanwhile, Tate St Ives, Nick Grimshaw’s Eden Project, Rick Stein’s restaurants in Padstow and Falmouth’s National Maritime Museum Cornwall, by Long & Kentish and Land Design Studio, are thriving in a county that has become a major international tourist draw.
Though many of these ventures are the work of London architects, the local design community is strong. The Cornwall Design Forum, set up in 2004, was one of the first regional bodies. It not only acts as a trade body for Cornish groups, but aims to provide a design strategy for the county.
With all this in place, the scene is set for 2010. What is missing is public involvement in what, to date, have been development plans imposed by public authorities or private investors – and public engagement to create a legacy through design is the raison d’être of Dott.
The success of Dott 07 was due to commitment by all parties/ One North East, local folk and the Design Council. But the balance was tipped by the input of executive producer Robert O’Dowd and programme director John Thackara. Let’s hope Cornwall attracts Dott leaders of equal calibre.