Voxpop: 2012 Olympics Design Guru

It has been suggested that the London 2012 Olympics organisers need a design guru to oversee architects and designers for the games. What are the benefits of this type of role and who would you suggest takes it?

I think given the shit fight that was the Millennium Dome, which supposedly had a ‘guru’ (or three) at the centre, it’s making sure that a single creative visionary is free to unite all aspects of the venture and not have their strings pulled by Government, ministers, the media, public opinion and a man and his dog in the pub opposite.
Simon Waterfall, Creative director, Poke


What is needed rather than a design guru is a creative director; a serious commercial animal who understands the business and design aspects of this kind of role. It’s about managing the politics, finance, technology and PR and allowing world-class work to be produced. I actually think that what’s needed is a team of three or four experts with a knowledge of architecture, branding, product design and brand communication. If I had to choose one person, it would be Keith Priest. He’s a great architect with a knowledge of other relevant design disciplines.
Martin Lambie-Nairn, Founder and chairman, Lambie-Nairn

The right person should be conducting, encouraging, cutting through the bullshit and, ultimately, making the necessary decisions, irrespective of discipline or contributor. Who should do it? A big thinker, a visionary and somebody with nothing to prove.
Geoff Nichol, Managing director, Navyblue


The man for the job would be someone like John Sorrell who is a seasoned and accomplished political player. Sorrell has always been as good a businessman as he is a great creative. His credentials and his driven personality would be perfectly suited for the job.
Marksteen Adamson, Partner, Arthur Steen Horne Adamson


The ‘design guru’ would have to be a finely tuned political animal who knows a bit about design. Ninety-five per cent of this project is about politics and a tiny residue about reality. What they’d be doing is dealing with spin architecture and spin design. I can’t think of anyone from design, but Alistair Campbell might be up for it.
Tim Pyne, Architect and exhibition designer

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