ICA defies Queen with jazzy new look Contemporary Arts gets jazzy new look

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The Independent Online

The Institute of Contemporary Arts, traditionally the centre for cutting edge cultural movements, is to give its building in the Mall a jazzy new image, without having to seek permission from the building's owner, the Queen.

Craig Downie, the architect, has come up with the ingenious idea of pink and purple inflatables hanging outside the entrance, with the letters ICA on them. The inflatables will hang from midnight until noon, meaning that they will officially be temporary structures which do not need planning permission or the Royal assent.

The ICA's entrance hall has always had a sober feel to it in keeping with its august surroundings, but out of character with the cutting edge art inside. Now Philip Dodd, the ICA director who is determined to bring it into the 21st century, has approved the plans.

"I hate the front of the house. It looks like a Fifties public library," Mr Dodd said. "I want sliding Perspex doors so you can see what's going on. I want plasma screens. I want it to be noisy. The Queen owns the building and we're not allowed so much as a sandwich board outside to say what we are."

Mr Downie said: "At the moment there's no sense of occasion with the entrance to the ICA." Inside, he will "make a mercury shape which will break the rigid angular mould of the building". However, the upstairs galleries, which are listed, will not be touched.

Mr Dodd also revealed that the ICA would become the centre for the arts' equivalent of the Tuesday Club, where young people behind internet start-ups meet.

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