Design meeting for Olympiad

Designers could be losing an opportunity to construct a proposal on how to integrate design and architecture into the Cultural Olympiad, the four-year festival that will accompany the 2012 London Olympics. At a meeting last Friday, hosted by the Commission for Architecture and the Built Environment, leading design and architecture figures, including representatives from Cabe and the Lighthouse, Scotland’s centre for architecture, disc – ussed how they would go about devising a plan, and looked at fundraising initiatives.

However, it appears that members of the design profession were not well-represented, with architectural bodies in the majority, and alternative schemes by designers to engage with the Olympiad have not been forthcoming. A spokesman for Cabe told Design Week that it is too early to make an announce ment on any firm proposals, but it is understood that the group will meet again in January. Currently, the Cultural Olympiad, which will start at the end of the Beijing Olympic Games next summer and continue over the period of the London Games in 2012, will take place across London and celebrate every element of cultural life in the UK through events, exhibitions and educational activities. Partners involved in the festival – such as the Arts Council of England and the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council – have to fund their own projects through their settlements in the Pre-Budget Report. However, the design industry has not received any settlement specifically for these plans and would therefore need to devise a fundraising initiative. According to a spokesman for the Department for Culture, Media and Sport, ‘There is strong feeling that design and architecture should be involved in the Cultural Olympiad, and we are in favour of that. We hope that, as a creative community, they will get together to come up with a proposal for a bigger project. There is no tap of money to fund it. However, the Arts Council and museum groups are expected to fund their projects from their budget settlements.

They are going away to think about where that money can come from and what their initiative will be.’ Additionally, design will form part of the events and exhibi tions planned for the festival, and tender opportuni ties will arise for designers to get involved in creating the festival. The branding is expected to be based around the Wolff Olins-designed 2012 logo (DW 20 September).

• The launch of the Cultural Olympiad will coincide with the closing ceremony of the Beijing 2008 Olympic Games
• The festival will showcase British talent and innovation, and will reflect the key themes of the London 2012 Olympic Games
• It will aim to inspire people to participate in a range of cultural activities, which will reflect and celebrate the diverse communities that make up London and the UK

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