World Expositions are galleries of human inspirations and thoughts. Since 1851 when the Great Exhibition of Industries of All Nations was held in London, the World Expositions have attained increasing prominence as grand events for economic, scientific, technological and cultural exchanges, serving as an important platform for displaying historical experience, exchanging innovative ideas, demonstrating esprit de corps and looking to the future.
Expo 2010 is being held on both banks of the Huangpu River in the city of Shanghai, China, from May 1 to October 31, 2010. It is a World Expo in the tradition of international fairs and expositions. The theme of the exposition is “Better City – Better Life” and signifies Shanghai’s new status in the 21st century as the “next great world city”.
On May 3, 2010 we went to the Expo with Scott.
The main structure of the China Pavilion, “The Crown of the East,” has a distinctive roof, made of traditional dougong or brackets, which date back more than 2,000 years. The dougong style features wooden brackets fixed layer upon layer between the top of a column and a crossbeam. This unique structural component of interlocking wooden brackets is one of the most important elements in traditional Chinese architecture. Dougong was widely used in the Spring and Autumn Period (770 BC-467 BC). We were unable to enter the China Pavilion, as advanced tickets were required.
Serveral Southeast Asian nations participated in the Expo, including Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam (above). In the middle photo above, Laura gives a wei outside the Thai Pavilion. The Thia Pavilion, one of our favorites, featured a 4-D movie that included 3-D effects, water misting over the audience and scents sprayed into the theater. The Vietnam Pavilion included a water puppet theater, based on the famous Thang Long Water Puppet Theater we visited in Hanoi.
The India Pavilion’s, designed by The Design-C group of Hindustan Thompson Associates Pvt. Ltd, distinghuishing deature isa an herb-roofed central domewith the “Tree of Life” carving inspired by the “Siddi Syed Mosque” at Ahmedabad in copper.
The Austalia Pavilion’s bold sculptural form was designed by leading Australian architectural firm Wood Marsh in conjunction with creative design firm Think!OTS. The striking shape and colors of the pavilion acknowledge Australia’s ancient landscape while demonstrating the sophistication of modern urban design in Australia. The exterior of the Australian pavilion is made of special weathering steel, produced in Australia by BlueScope Steel, which is integral to the pavilion’s design.
Under the slogan “Innovation for Better Life”, Israel highlights innovation at its pavilion along with traditional Jewish culture. This is the first time that Israel is building a national pavilion at a World Expo. The design of its pavilion resembles two clasped hands, symbolizing Israeli innovation and technology. The impressive design for the Israeli pavilion has been nicknamed the “Sea Shell” (in Chinese “Hai Bei Ke”) which goes along with the mascot of the Shanghai Expo, Haibao, and Shanghai as a coastal city.
We spent much time in the Morocco Pavilion (above, middle), considering the country is Fiby’s homeland. The pavilion is inspired by the rich culture of Morocco, which embodies wisdom and the spirit of innovation. It showcased the legacy of traditional civilization and the art of life. The exhibition represented different aspirations of residents and their lives as well as Morocco’s thinking over history, culture, environment and urban development. The Saudi Arabia Pavilion (above, right) features a fine centerpiece: a huge hanging boat shaped like a half moon. Date palms have been planted on the top deck of the boat, creating a hanging garden, and thus epitomizing the oases in the desert.
Developed by one of the UK’s leading creative talents, Thomas Heatherwick, the centrepiece of the UK pavilion is a six storey high object formed from some 60,000 slender transparent rods, which extend from the structure and quiver in the breeze.
We did not have the time to enter every pavilion; however, simply walking around the Expo provided a striking architectural display. Above, we walk through the European zone.
The Spain Pavilion, designed by Benedetta Tagliabue, is designed to be a hand-weaved wicker basket structure supported by the steel framework inside. “The Basket,” as some have dubbed the pavilion, is “dressed” in more than 8,000 wicker panels in brown, beige, and black. Wicker weaving is a tradition in both Spain and China and the pavilion is like a bridge connecting the two nations.
The tropical-forest-like Brazil Pavilion shows off the cultural diversity and dynamism of Brazilian cities with the theme “Pulsing Cities: Feel the Life of Brazilian Cities.” Inside, Laura and Scott are feeling it!
The Columbia Pavilion is above, its outer walls filled with various butterfly decorations which give a tropical appearance. Colombua was supposed to be serving coffee; however, when we were visiting, there had been some problem with customs importing the coffee beans. We’re not precicley sure whether the blame lay with Columbia or China, but we’d be surprised if it wasn’t both. At any rate, we visited Columbia for Carolina.
From an aerial view, the design of the Chile Pavilion resembles an undulating “crystal cup” with irregular wave-like fluctuations. Inside, Scott and I sample some Chilean wine and pisco out of some real cups, resulting in some wave-like fluctuations of our own.
The Mexico Pavilion featured a Kite Forest combining colorful kites and green grass, representing the ideas of future urban life as advocated by Mexico.
The design and construction of the Canada Pavilion reflects Canadian values of inclusivity, sustainability, and creativity. This three-story structure is the product of collaboration between the Government of Canada and Cirque du Soleil, with building expertise from SNC Lavalin. The exterior skin of the pavilion is composed of 4000 m2 of Canadian red cedar.
The USA Pavilion, one of the most popular but (unfortunately) hardly the most impressive, was a mammoth gray steel structure meant to resemble an eagle stretching its wings in welcome. The pavilion presented a dynamic and emotional story that conveys four core concepts: sustainability, teamwork, health and the spirit of striving for success. It presents the US as a place of opportunity and diversity where people come together to change their communities for the better.