Take a view on the next fifty years

Harvey McGavin

Harvey McGavin says now is your chance to describe the world today's 15-year-olds will see when they draw their first pension. The Design Council, 50 years old next year, is already looking forward to its centenary and, to celebrate the event, it want others to do the same. This month sees the launch of Project 2045, a futuristic initiative which invites designers, young and old, professional and amateur, to put down for posterity their visions of the next millennium.

The challenge to industry, educational establishments and the general public alike, is to cast your mind forward 50 years and imagine what the world will be like.What will we eat, drink and wear? Where will we live? How will we get to work and what kind of jobs will we do? Your ideas, which can be recorded in any kind of medium, from computer disc to video to plain old pen and paper, will be sealed in time capsules and buried or stored until 2045. A record of the sites will be kept at the Museum of Mankind.

The data from 50 random capsules will be transformed into a gigantic interactive CD-Rom wall display to be unveiled next November. The venue has still to be decided but possible sites include Heathrow Airport, the Eureka! museum in Halifax or Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry.

The time capsules, containing an "information and inspiration" pack, will be sent out to to participating centres in January. Participants then have two months to decide on their contents before Future Week, from March 6 to 10, when they will be exhibited locally. On March 10, at a specified time, all the capsules will be stored in an appropriate place.

The aims of the project are to in-crease awareness of design in ordinary people's lives, raise the profile of the Design Council and provide a catalyst for collaborative work.

Design students can also take part in a competition, organised by the newly-established All Party Group on Design, to re-design the Houses of Parliament. The brief, inspired by the recent exhibition at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London on Pugin, the original architect, is to design a new parliament building to cater for democratic government in the 21st century.

Both projects stem from the restructuring of the Design Council, under new chairman John Sorrell, which sptang fromthe Department of Trade and Industry's call for its modernisation. This has seen the council shed 150 staff, cease publications and concentrate on industry and education.

Mr Sorrell said: "The future belongs to our children. The Design Council's Project 2045 is giving schools and colleges nationwide a real chance to design this future. It is vital to get children's millennium design ideas now, so that designers and manufacturers can work on a better future for everyone, ready for the challenges of the next century."

o For details, fax your contact name, address, telephone and fax numbers to Karen McDonald at the Design Council: 071-839 6033.

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