Design Council could host Olympic exhibition

The Design Council may join with Government to host an exhibition showcasing the best designs of the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Inside the London 2012 Olympic Stadium

Source: Locog/Steve Bates

Inside the London 2012 Olympic Stadium

The intention would be to showcase work carried out by architects and designers, which many of those consultancies are currently prevented from promoting due to contractual clauses.

Giving evidence at the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee, Design Council chief executive John Mathers said the Design Council was in ‘early-stage discussions’ with Culture Minister Ed Vaizey about a show that could ‘get round any of the complications around individual publicity’.

Speaking to the committee, which has been set up to examine Government support for the creative industries, Mathers and Design Council chief design officer Mat Hunter pointed to the Olympics as an exemplar of good design.

Mathers said, ‘A huge part of the success of the Games was things like access and how you found your way around the site – and to my mind that’s what great design is all about.’

During the session, Mathers and Hunter also called on Government to use design and procure design better.

Hunter pointed to the recent redesign of the Government Digital Service as an example of ‘a design-led approach… that can make things far more effective and less expensive’, while Mathers slated the Government’s procurement system as ‘one of the most unwieldy procurement systems I’ve ever encountered in my entire life’.

Referring to the Design Council’s new status – it lost its status as a Government-funded body and became a charity in 2011 – Mathers said ‘our interventions are  less and our impact is less – by about a third of where we were a couple of years ago.’

He added, ‘We still get funding from both the Departments for Business, Innovation and Skills and Communities and Local Government, but there is no long-term guarantee to that funding, so we are having to investigate ways of ensuring our long-term future through self-sufficiency’.

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