The company said he would start on detailed briefs for the design of the exhibition inside the Millennium Dome, which is supposed to be Britain's main celebration in 2000.
Mr Bayley, 45, was a key figure in making mass-marketed designs fashionable during the 1980s. He has worked with Terence Conran and helped set up a design centre at the Victoria and Albert Museum which included a centenary show called: "Coca-Cola: Designing a Megabrand."
He was a founding director of the Design Museum in London where he clashed with Margaret Thatcher who criticised him for having too few British products on show.
In his new consultancy role, he will look at "innovative three-dimensional elements of the exhibition within a range of styles and atmospheres". Millennium Central have refused to comment on what would go into the exhibition but said he would be looking at work from a number of designers.
Mr Bayley said: "This is a unique opportunity to show design is not a precious and exclusive subject but an essential one. Ever since I first read about the Great Exhibition of 1851, I've been enthralled by the way successful exhibitions can change an entire nation's point of view. I believe it's possible to do that again."
He will also advise on the company's logo and the design of a national programme of events due to start in January 1998.
The Millennium Central chief executive, Jennie Page, said: "We are lucky to have Stephen working with us. There are very few people with the vision and understanding to be able to take forward the design of an exhibition of this scale."
The company advertised design contracts worth pounds 30m this week.Reuse content