The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) has won the national competition for the Danish Pavilion at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. The entry was designed in collaboration with 2+! and Arup.
Niels Lund Petersen, BIG associate: “The Danish pavilion should not only exhibit the Danish virtues. Through interaction, the visitors are able to actually experience some of Copenhagenâ€™s best attractions â€“ the city bike, the harbor bath, the nature playground and an ecological picnic. With the pavilion, we relaunch the bike in Shanghai, as a symbol of modern lifestyle and sustainable urban development. The pavilion’s 1500 city bikes are offered for general use to the visitors during Expo 2010. After the world exhibition, it can be moved and relocated in, for example, Peoples Park - as a transferium for the bikes of Shanghai. A harbor bath is located in the heart of the pavilion, filled with seawater from Copenhagen harbor. It is the original Little Mermaid sculpture visiting China as a specific example of the idea that the Danish pavilion offers the real experience of the real Danish city life.”
Bjarke Ingels: “The purpose of moving The Little Mermaid, is to show that open-mindedness doesnâ€™t necessarily cause you to lose origin or culture. Typically, national symbols are static â€“ a fortress or a tower which is unshakable. Lately, Denmarkâ€™s image as a tolerant and open-minded country has been at stake in the global media-scape. The perception of a nation, with a national symbol so dynamic that it can be moved to China for 6 months is a great way of showing that Denmark is still open-minded and liberal towards the rest of the world. Speaking of sustainability, it is considerably more resource efficient moving The Little Mermaid to China, than moving 1.3 billion Chinese to Copenhagen.”
From the BIG press release: “Both Shanghai and Copenhagen are harbor cities. But in Denmark the polluted harbor activities have been replaced by harbor parks and cultural institutions, and the water is so pure that you can swim in it. In the heart of the pavilion you find the Mermaid pool, which is filled with sea water from Copenhagenâ€™s harbor, brought to Shanghai on a tanker. The Chinese guest can swim in the pool, and not only hear about clean water, but feel and taste it. The sculptor Edvard Eriksenâ€™s original Mermaid, will visit China, as a specific example of the pavilion offering a real experience of Danish urban life.”
Image above: the Danish crown prince Frederik (right) with BIG (Bjarke Ingels on the far left) reviewing the design
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