British pavilion

Thomas Heatherwick (Heatherwick Studio ) designed a fascinating lit cube design for the UK Pavilion at the World Expo 2010 Shanghai. Visitors will see 60,000 slender transparent rods, which draw on daylight to illuminate the interior of the cathedral.

The centrepiece of the UK pavilion is a six storey high object, known as the Seed Cathedral, formed from 60,000 slender transparent rods, which extend from the structure and quiver in the breeze. During the day, each of the 7.5m long rods 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 allow the whole structure to glow. The Seed Cathedral sits on a landscape looking like paper that once wrapped the building and that now lies unfolded on the site signifying the UK’s gift to China.

Underneath the wrapping paper are a series of walkways that take the visitor on a journey through the UK’s past, present and future. The walkways have been designed by another leading UK creative agency, Troika. Troika have collaborated with many leading research and scientific institutions including Kew Gardens, Kunming Institute of Botany and individual scientists.

On entering the British Pavilion, the visitor sets foot inside the UKs gift to China. The Seed Cathedral and its surrounding area show the gift in its unwrapped state, the creases forming the canopy over the walkways where the visitor embarks on their journey. The journey consists of a series of walkways that take the visitor on an experience reflective of a visit to a UK public park – the first thing that makes it unique is its ‘openness’, there is no roof, there is an open space where people can sit, relax and take in a performance; or choose to walk through a series of walkways and visit the seed cathedral representative of an amazing sculpture. The components in the UK Pavilion park combined, illustrate the UK’s past and present and vision for the future of city life.