Tony Blair opens the uk 98 festival in Japan next week on the British Ambassador's lawn - in a five-canopy pavilion designed by Tokyo-based Mark Dytham and Astrid Klein. One of the air-inflated canopies, engineered by Ove Arup and manufactured by Cameron Balloons, is pictured undergoing testing.
The 6m-diameter canopies can be arranged in different configurations, and will be used at 30 locations during the year-long festival. Klein Dytham, asked initially to decorate a traditional marquee, found sponsorship from Virgin Atlantic and Rover Cars to promote innovative British design.
One hiccup, the collapse of Proctor Masts, was overcome when Devomet Engineering picked up the contract for the aluminium frame. During the year some 200 events will take place throughout Japan, organised by the Embassy and the British Council.