Designers in 2000 bid

Imagination – the only design group shortlisted by the Millennium Commission to operate its prestigious year 2000 exhibition – is working on a celebration to make the UK “the envy of the world”, according to marketing director Ralph Ardill.

The commission announced its final shortlist of four last week. Imagination is competing against the Granada Group, media group MAI and a consortium called M2000. The deadline for final submissions is 5 December, and a decision is expected in January.

The exhibition will run throughout the year 2000 and could pull in up to 25 million visitors.

“We’re thinking of the obvious ideas, then rejecting them,” says Ardill. “It’s got to be a concept to inspire everyone in the UK to take ownership and pride in the celebrations. It needs innovation and must be seen as a worthwhile use of public money,” he explains.

Imagination has developed a proposal for funding its celebrations, but is unwilling to reveal any information at present.

The Granada Group will “definitely be working with designers”, according to a spokeswoman. It is unsure whether it will select them before or after the 5 December deadline.

“Obviously, getting the right design is extremely important,” says a spokesman for MAI. “We’re currently putting together a business consortium, and will then bring in creative skills.”

M2000 consists of management group Touche Ross, Bovis Construction, Reed Exhibition Companies, Stanhope, Gillespie’s Landscape Architects and concept developer Principals. It is unwilling to comment on design.

The final decision will be announced in conjunction with the chosen site, which will be in Derby, Greenwich, Birmingham or Stratford, East London.

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