As someone who at the beginning was in favour of the Dome as an inspiring project, I felt deflated, like many designers, by what has turned out to be a New Age trade fair. While the structure is stunning and innovative, the visual chaos which assaults the visitor is a testament to the dearth of creative or intellectual direction which has plagued the project.
The standard of individual trade stands (zones) is patchy. The celebration of travel and speed so deftly delivered by Imagination in the Journey Zone only heightens the poverty of much of the rest.
Many lessons can be drawn from this – the most expensive missed opportunity for designers of our generation. Most importantly, we need to maintain intellectual independence from New Labour.
This Government wants to re-invent Britain, economically and culturally, around “creative industries”. On the surface, just like the Dome, this interest in trades like ours seems positive.
However, this Government’s ignorance of design is completely at one with the incompetence that has surrounded the Dome.
Now that Robin Cook’s Foreign Office has brought Edward De Bono in to assist the “peace process” in the Middle East, it is clear our leaders believe a sprinkle of creativity solves anything.
While Government overtures are flattering, let the fiasco at the big top be a warning to those designers who sail uncritically close to the spin.