Friday, January 06, 2006

Pitt 'cools' on seafront complex

Brad Pitt may not be as involved in a multi-million pound seafront development as previously thought, it has emerged.The Hollywood star was understood to have teamed up with Frank Gehry, one of the world’s leading architects, to help design part of a £290m (€422m) residential and leisure complex in Hove, East Sussex.And developers Karis even suggested he might buy one of the luxury penthouse apartments at the eye-catching King Alfred development.Josh Arghiros, chairman and chief executive of Karis, told the Press Association in May: “He was there at inception and will be involved all the way.“Frank has asked him to take on the design of one of the restaurants and one of the penthouse flats. Brad is looking for a place to live in Britain and it may well be that he’ll take one of the flats in Brighton.”But Mr Gehry, whose designs include the Guggenheim Museum in Bilbao and the Maggie’s Centre in Dundee, is quoted in US magazine Newsweek as saying that when he asked Pitt if he would like to be involved in the project only he said “maybe”.“We were – I don’t know if we are any more – working in Brighton, England, and the guys at Brighton knew I knew Brad Pitt and knew he was interested in architecture,” Mr Gehry is reported to have said.“And they asked me if he would like to participate and design the bar, or an apartment or something. So I called him and asked him and he said maybe.“And he came by the office and looked at it, and somebody here took a picture of him leaning over the model next to me. I don’t know how it got into the press. My guys didn’t do it. Somebody took that picture, he must have sent it to somebody or we must have inadvertently sent it to somebody.“From that day, I’ve never heard from him.”A spokeswoman for Karis said today: “(Pitt) has been involved in the project. We have photos of him working on the King Alfred project.”But she said she did not know what the star’s role in the project was at the moment.“We haven’t commissioned Brad to work on the scheme,” she said.“We don’t have any direct contact with Brad Pitt. Brad’s involvement has always been through Frank.”She added: “We never sought to promote that (celebrity) element of the scheme.”She said Mr Gehry was due to visit the southcoast resort in connection with the project later this month.In an interview in 2004, Pitt spoke of his love for architecture and his respect for Gehry.He told Vanity Fair magazine: “I’m really into architecture, structure and design. Give me anything and I’ll design it. I’m a bit nutty with it.”He added: “I’ve got a few men I respect very much and one would be Frank Gehry. He said to me, ’If you know where it’s going, it’s not worth doing. That’s become like a mantra for me. That’s the life of the artist.”A spokesman for Brighton and Hove City Council said as Karis had submitted a planning application for the 750-flat and £40m (€58m) sports centre development, he was unable to comment.

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