Heatherwick team develops Expo 2010 ideas

Heatherwick Studio will work intensively with its partners over the coming months to develop its winning design (pictured) for the Shanghai World Expo 2010 UK pavilion.

The theme of the Expo is ‘better city, better life’, which Heatherwick will explore through a 40m2, 20m-high, cubed screen, constructed of 100 000 5m rods, the circular profiles of which form ‘pixels’. Densely packed when viewed from inside the building, the rods will sway in the breeze on the outside.

‘We entered the World Expo competition because we need to explore what it is like to show off,’ says Heatherwick founder Thomas Heatherwick. ‘Software designers have not dealt with this surface before, which is going to require cutting-edge technology. We are looking at materials for the rods [bamboo is under consideration], and ways of waterproofing a building with 100 000 holes in it. Crucially, we need to develop the content, as the building is a device to communicate through.’

Exhibition and interior design group Casson Mann will lead this element. ‘Our pavilion’s theme is “a city that listens”. Over the next two years we will ask Britons how urban living could be improved,’ says Casson Mann partner Dinah Casson. ‘During the Expo we will ask the same question of our seven million visitors, recording their responses to create a generative art installation.’

While Casson admits that plans for the cavity beneath the pavilion are unclear, she describes possibilities for a Chinese-English fusion restaurant and a shop in two earthwork ‘arms’ around the building. The shops could sell ‘tribal party bags’ containing products linked with certain British ‘types’, such as the ‘country house’ tribe. Bags may be suspended on circulating cables behind the counter, making it easier for sales assistants to sell items quickly.

World Expo 2010 takes place in Shanghai, China, from 1 May to 31 October 2010.

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