Like the Millennium Dome, the British Pavilion at Hanover’s Expo 2000 has received a significant panning from the media and designers alike. Should the design industry be pushing the Government to make better use of design at these set-piece shows? And if so, what form should that push take?
‘The real problem for all of these mega-shows, expos, domes and the like is, what is their relevance after they have finished? Design in this century needs to be holistic. We – the visitors and designers – have to understand that an enormous amount of money, time and energy spent without thinking about what will happen when the show closes is not going to be the best use of resources. The Government has to participate with better design, but this “design” really needs to address the issues of sustainability and fitness for purpose as much as style and message. I am certain that these set-piece shows do have a degree of relevance, but not as styled-up replicas of the 1851 exhibition.’
JASPER JACOB, DIRECTOR, JASPER JACOB ASSOCIATES
‘I would probably start at the bottom and establish a postgraduate school for architects to focus on the generation of ideas and what we call interpretation. You can knock the clients as much as you like, but just try and find intelligent 3D designers who think the same as ad people do and know how to get stuff built fast. Or, they could just give the next one to us.’
TIM PYNE, DIRECTOR, WORK
‘I think that the Government would do well to learn two lessons from Tate Modern. First, “form follows function”, ie: get the content right and then think about its housing. Second, make sure that your team possesses a true champion who will see the job through from beginning to end.
Design by committee always ends up being a three-humped camel.’
JONATHAN SANDS, CHAIRMAN, ELMWOOD
‘The first step should be to have permanent professional staff acting as clients. They need to be passionate about the event medium, realising its pitfalls and understanding its potential. “Here today, gone tomorrow” administrators just begin to recognise their mistakes when they move on to another career posting.’
NEAL POTTER, CHAIRMAN OF THE CHARTERED SOCIETY OF DESIGNERS EXHIBITIONS GROUP