Exhibition design gets recognition

The Design Business Association and the Chartered Society of Designers are looking to forge closer relationships with exhibition designers, in the wake of criticism that they are failing to support the discipline.

The Design Council is also keen to promote exhibition design, as part of its ongoing programme to educate the Government on design procurement.

Leading exhibition designers Neal Potter, Giles Velarde and Peter Higgins have accused design industry bodies of ignoring exhibition designers (DW 2 October).

CSD general secretary Frank Peters acknowledges the society has “partly ignored” exhibition designers in the past and is keen to do more for them. Since reading of their concerns in last week’s Design Week, he has taken steps to set up a separate category representing exhibition designers for the first time. The CSD has been criticised in the past for listing the discipline under interior design.

Peters has written to Velarde and Potter, inviting them to discuss the formation of the new category, which would form part of the CSD’s drive to broaden its service provision. A separate multimedia unit is also planned.

Meanwhile, DBA chief executive Ian Rowland-Hill says: “We would welcome advances from exhibition designers to discuss issues, agree what needs to be done and work out the best way to do it.”

Rowland-Hill’s invitation coincides with the appointment of Stephanie Smith, currently manager of the Association of Illustrators, to the newly created position of DBA assistant chief executive. Rowland-Hill says her appointment, commencing on 26 October, provides a timely opportunity to kick-start the exhibition initiative.

Design Council chief executive Andrew Summers agrees that exhibition design has not been given the platform it needs, and says the organisation is working to change that.

“Exhibition design is a key way to promote Britain and British design. We are focusing on the discipline and will be looking to push it even more strongly in the future,” he says.

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