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Ex-Dome boss was warned: 'Zones may drive you dotty'

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Sacked Dome boss Jennie Page has spoken out for the first time on the designers whose impractical designs for some zones made her job difficult.

The former chief executive of the New Millennium Experience Company said that some of them had problems adapting to designing for sponsors, but stopped short of singling people out.

'There were problems,' she said. 'Some designers did not at first produce practical and affordable, indeed buildable designs. Others could not adapt easily to the search for sponsors to match the zone,' she said.

Her comments came in a speech to the Royal Society of Arts last week, where she said that managing the 11 creative teams became the largest part of her job after she had been warned that the post would end in her 'walking out, sacked, dead or mad.'

The desire to use environmentally sound materials also caused problems for many design teams, she said, adding that 'almost every one of them found themselves out of their comfort zone on one or other aspect of procurement, build management or financial reporting.'

She also hinted that private sector involvement in sponsoring the Dome had made the design of zones inconsistent.

'[Living Island] remained without private sector involvement. It is probably for this reason that it is one of the most consistent in design and was the first to be finished,' she said.

Nevertheless she praised the design as a whole in the Dome and claimed that its content deserved 'more attention and respect than it has so far received'.

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