From May 1 to October 31, the city of Shanghai will be transformed into a giant international venue with 192 participants and 50 organizations (a record number in the history of Expo) taking part in the event. With 400 billion yuan (58.6 billion US dollars) being spent on the exhibition preparations, the Shanghai-based Expo is the largest and most impressive fair in the world. From among hundreds of exhibitors, we have selected ten national pavilions that have made the biggest impression on us.
Bright colors and striking symbols on the facade of the Ukrainian pavilion are truly eye-catching. Red, white and black decorations are symbols originating from ancient cultures of local tribes that existed in the country. By the way of example, the sun is a symbol for endless power, whirlpool-snake patterns symbolize the passing of time, and the image of dog stands for driving away evil forces. Moreover, the Ukrainians had a great idea to create a map of the world in embroidery, which is a traditional decorative art of Ukraine. The visitors can complete the rest of the map by adding their own stitches to it.
We like Columbia‘s pavilion for its simplicity. The perfectly proportional geometric form of the building is composed of wooden panels and butterfly decorations which give the pavilion an exotic appearance. Inside, the complex houses “the Pacific,” “the Caribbean, “the Andes,” “the Orinoco River,” and “the Amazon” sections, which present different ambiences of the country, from the oceanic atmosphere and the tropical white sand beaches of the Caribbean to splendid Andean landscapes and coffee plantations.
Among Expo 2010 pavilions, the Russian complex caught our attention thanks to its interesting architectural concept and stenography. The pavilion comprises 12 white and gold 20-meter high towers that form a circle. The color of the towers resembles the historical architecture of Russia and the upper perforations are based on the ethnic ornaments of various nations inhabiting the country. In general, the whole idea of the pavilion was to create a space that would symbolize an ideal, almost fairyland city.
We love Canada‘s pavilion for its unique design and green approach. The walls of the complex are composed of 4,000 sq m of Canadian red cedar, which give it excellent ecological look. The wooden boards are individually fastened to a frame and can be easily dismantled and reused for other projects after the Expo. Moreover, the pavilion’s external walls are evergreen seedlings that operate as a natural bio air filter and collect rainwater for use inside the complex. Such green walls can be found in cities across Canada including Montréal and Vancouver.
The Swiss pavilion’s unique and innovative design aims to combine town and countryside, proving that the two can coexist in a perfect balance. The complex is composed of a green roof and two cylinders located inside the pavilion. Inside the building there is an area representing the urban site of the country with its noise, activity and constant movement, corresponds to the Chinese “yin”. In turn, “yang” is represented by the open, bright and peaceful landscape of the planted roof. Switzerland, considered one of the world’s most eco-friendly countries (with the highest standards of living in the cities), proves that harmonious interaction between urban and rural areas is possible. The red round dots surrounding the façade contain an energy source, an accumulator and an LED cell energy-consumer. The energy is produced by visitors walking under the aluminum curtain and becomes visible in the form of white flashes.
The pavilion put up by Poland is a fine example of reinterpretation of a traditional Polish folk motif. The folk-art paper cut-out transformed into an architectural form makes the complex a striking structure. The pavilion looks attractive both in the daylight, when the sun rays shine through the cut-outs, and at night, when multicolored light is seeping through the patterns. The ramp that is created by the folded exterior allows visitors to walk onto the roof of the complex, making the entire building a unique exhibition space.
The Danish pavilion is splendid. The white spiral form of the complex reflects Denmark‘s passion for simple and beautiful design that is present in every aspect of the country – from amazingly planned cities to iconic Danish interior design accessories. The outdoor and indoor orbits of the pavilion allow the visitors to experience real Denmark, both on foot and by bike. The complex has a cycle park on the roof, with 300 free bikes of
fering the visitors a chance to feel as if they were in the country, where, virtually, everyone bikes everywhere. In the pavilion’s centrepiece, there is a pool with the famed Little Mermaid statue specially imported for the Expo from Copenhagen.
3. South Korea
Among one of the most striking Expo constructions is the South Korean pavilion that emerged on a large 6,000 m square lot, next to Japanese and Chinese sites. The design of the pavilion is an amalgamation of signs and space – the whole construction is a combination of 20 basic letters of han-geul, the Korean alphabet. The external surface is covered with two types of panels depicting the Korean letters (white tiles) and art pixels (colorful tiles), designed by Ik-Joong Kang, a renowned Korean artist. No wonder the Korean pavilion has been attracting long queues since the opening day.
Made of 8,000 wicker panels that come in three different colors, the Spanish pavilion is to resemble tiger’s coat as the Chinese Year of Tiger arrived on February 4, 2010. In addition, the production of all kinds of wicker goods is a traditional craft of both Spain and China. Therefore, the pavilion aims to underline the things the two countries have in common. This amazing construction houses three exhibition halls and is home to one of this Expo’s most striking structures – the giant Miguelin, a 6.5 meter tall electronically animated baby that breathes and blinks. Apparently, the baby also has dreams, which are to be animated for all visitors to see.
1. United Kingdom
The UK‘s pavilion is truly a masterpiece and without a doubt the most original construction of this year’s Expo. Designed by Thomas Heatherwick, the UK’s leading creative talent, the striking construction is a six storey high object created from 60,000 7.7 m long transparent rods. During the day, the rods, acting like fibre-optic filaments, illuminate the interior, whereas at night, the whole structure glows brilliantly. Inside, the roof-less space amazes with its openness and lightness.
The exhibitions inside the pavilion were created by Troika, a renowned art and design practice from London. They illustrate the UK’s past, presence and the country’s vision for the future regarding the city life.