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Stirling 2001 - the exhibition designers

Stirling 2001

Steve Simons and Sam Willis, Event Communications

On the night, Steve Simons had no doubt what should win the Stirling Prize. 'Eden Project was an exercise in engineering, Magna an architectural icon of the Millennium spirit, ' says the creative director of Event Communications.

He stresses the difficulty in judging such a unique project, where traditional boundaries between architecture, interior and content become blurred.His firm, for example, designed a five-storey interior exhibit in close collaboration with the architects.

'Often you have something pure and uncomplicated like a church, ' he says.

'Magna was a new animal created for an unusual purpose. We had a very good partnership with the architects, but ours is a world that exists away from the public and it would be good to have a little more recognition.'

As it is, Simons is unsure what the Stirling Prize will mean for Event Communications. The firm has worked on larger projects and is at present focusing its attention on the Imperial War Museum - North, designed by Daniel Libeskind.

Simons has never enjoyed such close working relationships with architects before and puts this down to the qualities ofarchitects who are also 'Renaissance men' like Wilkinson and Libeskind.

Concept designer Sam Willis suggests the RIBA look again at the difficulty of judging because 'nothing is black and white in design terms, and I fear The Imperial Museum - North may throw up the same problem in prize situations'.

She adds: 'I've worked on Magna for two-and-a-half years but when it won, my mother asked: 'Didn't you do that?' I suppose people want household names on their Christmas cards like Gehry and Hopkins, whom we've also worked with, rather than Event Communications.

'However, I was spoilt for those years and feel I may never again work with such a team of designers and artists.'

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