The Foreign and Commonwealth Office reveals updated designs for the UK pavilion that will represent this country at Shanghai Expo 2010; its theme being ‘Better City, Better Life’. Developed by one of the UK’s leading creative talents – Thomas Heatherwick – the UK pavilion will provide a dramatic demonstration of creativity and innovation in the UK.
The centrepiece of the UK’s offering is the extraordinary pavilion building – a six storey high object formed from some 60,000 slender transparent rods, which will extend from the structure and quiver in the breeze. During the day, each of these 7.5m long rods will act like fibre optic filaments, drawing on daylight to illuminate the interior, thereby creating a contemplative awe-inspiring space. At night, light sources at the interior end of each rod will allow the whole structure to glow. The pavilion will sit on a landscape looking like paper that once wrapped the building and that now lies unfolded on the site. The landscape provides an open space for public events and shelter for visitors making their way into the pavilion structure.
Inside the pavilion building is a unique visual representation of the UK’s leading role in conservation worldwide – Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank partnership – the largest collection of wild plant seeds in the world. By encasing tens of thousands of seeds into the ends of the transparent rods, visitors will be able to view examples of seeds of plant species that contribute to national and global conservation programmes. The seeds have been sourced from the Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, Kunming Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences in China – a partner in the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank Project. The seeds being used are taken from stocks that are both plentiful and readily available. They will create a stunning image of an alternative World Bank, into which is embedded the potential of life.