Imagination looks certain to be retained as designer of the millennium celebrations in Greenwich, despite a current lull in its workload and rumours of disagreements with the organising company, Millennium Central.
Sources close to Millennium Central say private sponsors, whose multimillion pound backing of the event is vital, would be worried by the departure of the consultancy.
While clearance and construction work is still underway at the site, Imagination has not done any design work on the project since March. “We have done what we were asked to do,” says an Imagination spokeswoman. Imagination has been employed on a rolling programme of temporary contracts, and is waiting to see if it will still be involved when the next, and more detailed, set of briefs for the project emerges from Millennium Central.
But despite continuous pressure to cut costs, its position looks safe due to sponsor pressure. A plan which does not involve Imagination but retains creative director Gary Withers as a consultant may be a workable compromise for Millennium Central.
“We expect Imagination will still be involved. We are very happy with their work,” says a spokesman for Millennium Central, which is examining a number of proposals for the interior of the Millennium Dome. All of the proposals are thought to be from Imagination. Millennium Central denies that chief executive Jenny Page has been in talks with other designers, although sources suggest that discussions have taken place.
All parties, including the Department of National Heritage, have dismissed reports that celebrations may move to Birmingham. National Heritage Secretary Chris Smith is reviewing the exhibition as Labour promised to do if elected. But “there are no plans to re-open the bidding process”, says a DNH spokesman.
The review is likely to be finished during June.