The Foreign Office, British Council and Millennium Commission are to beat the drum for British design worldwide with a new touring exhibition of mainly lottery-funded projects curated by Sunday Times architecture correspondent Hugh Pearman.
The show, called '12 for 2000', features 12 projects, including Foster and Partners' proposed Millennium Bridge across the Thames, Nicholas Grimshaw and Partners' Eden Project and Michael Wilford and Partners' Lowry Centre in Salford, as well as less well-known projects like Hodder Associates' Clissold Leisure Centre in Hackney, London and proposals to erect a 10m- high Strangford Stone in Northern Ireland.
The choices reflect key projects in three categories - environment, regeneration, and people. But although the exhibition, designed by Morag Myerscough of Studio Myerscough and paid for by the three partners, cost £140,000, it will be transported to countries such as Belgium, Greece, Israel and possibly Cyprus at their expense. It will not, however, be seen by people in this country.
Pearman said he hoped that the exhibition might be included in the Glasgow 1999 celebrations, but it is unlikely to find a home in the Millennium Dome in 2000.
Pearman told the aj he was striving to get a collection which had a good geographical spread but did not feature too many major projects by one architect such as Foster. Foster and Partners' designs for a National Botanic Garden of Wales in the eighteenth-century gardens and parkland of Middleton Hall in the Towy Valley, set for a press launch next week, also figures, however.
Culture secretary and Millennium Commission chairman Chris Smith said the show - working title, 'Beyond the Dome' - backed up the government's 'long-term commitment to innovative design'.
David Drewry, the director general of the British Council, said the 'marketable product' of British design would be displayed in the atria and foyers of buildings across the world, themselves the products of British architects. 'Through this promotion we change perceptions of Britain and we open new markets to our designers,' he said.