Imagination will call on outsiders

Designers from around the UK are likely to cash in on Imagination’s Millennium Festival. For the first time since winning the role of festival planner, Imagination director Ralph Ardill reveals other design groups will contribute.

Early reports that Imagination would keep all the design work in-house are now seen as unrealistic. Ardill says there is “definite potential” for other groups to work on aspects of the festival at the main site, Greenwich, and in the regions. “We want to give other designers a way to contribute,” says Ardill.

He stresses that it is “very early in the day. It would be inappropriate for us to even look at any other companies at this stage. Imagination has built up a phenomenal database of suggestions from designers and architects all over the world”.

Regional review panels are currently being set up to co-ordinate suggestions and information.

The commission has confirmed that the term “operator” applied to Imagination in press reports is incorrect. “We’ve asked Imagination to develop its creative concepts, but we’re putting together a wider operating body,” says a spokeswoman.

A source close to the commission adds that Imagination “has not sufficient experience to operate something of this scale for the duration of a year. Someone who has operated international events of a long duration is needed”.

Imagination has revealed more details of its design plans for the festival. It has divided the country into 50 areas, and each area will have a week to demonstrate its activities at Greenwich.

The British Museum needs graphic designers for its 72m Great Court project, designed by Sir Norman Foster and Partners, which last week received 30m from the Millennium Commission. The architect hopes to hold a credentials pitch after June, when planning permission is expected. The museum will also take the rare step of looking outside for exhibition design, says administration head Christopher Jones.

Meanwhile, the British Film Institute is applying for National Lottery cash towards the creation of a 100m cinema on the roundabout near London’s Waterloo, designed by architect Brian Avery.

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