Imagination, 20/20, WPA and Shelton Fleming have withdrawn from the 26-way pitch – dubbed a “beauty parade” by Imagination – to design the first phase of the planned 15m National Centre for Popular Music.
They were on the centre’s list of consultancies due to submit unpaid written proposals tomorrow (Friday). Imagination refuses to participate, describing the process as “wrong and unfair”.
A spokeswoman says that small consultancies will put “a lot of time and effort” into the pitch, possibly at the expense of other clients. “This could cause them great financial trouble for little or no return,” she says.
20/20 business development director Yaron Meshoulam says that “although it is not technically a creative pitch, some people are bound to put in creative work. We don’t do creative pitches and 26 proposals is too many for the centre to digest. They’ll be totally confused”.
Tim Strickland, the centre’s development director, confirms that WPA withdrew because “too many people were involved”.
He feels his brief may have been “misunderstood – I wanted to see how each consultancy would manage the mechanics of a project like this. I’m not looking for creative work at this stage”.
Designer Richard Fowler of Richard Fowler Associates plans to submit written proposals. “They’re not asking for ideas. It’s a design management role,” he says.