EXPO 2010 Shanghai - Swiss Pavilion

Runtime: 2 min.

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Should you be fortunate enough to visit the Expo on one of the rare drizzle-free days, take a ride above the Swiss Pavilion on the chairlift. The ride spirals steeply up – as if emerging from the eye of a tornado – and offers a breathtaking trip above the pavilion, with a mini-Switzerland in the foreground and Shanghai’s skyline off in the distance. On both emotional and intellectual levels, the Swiss pavilion is the most successful in achieving a complexity which remains open to interpretation. The architects’ aesthetic vision seems shabby at first glance and distracts from the notion of an urban loggia accessible to the public. A harmonic interplay of an urban setting and a natural one, or a fragile, artificial Shangri-La? From below, the coarse grey spray-rendering on the thick 20-metre-high columns is displeasing and gloomy, reminiscent of the sprayed-on concrete used in tunnels in the Alps, but the colours of the Swiss flag come to the fore in a diaphanous curtain of steel mesh. Studded with sparkling red plastic pailettes, it recalls autumn foliage falling gently to the ground – in this case originating at the white cornice Solar cells in the pailettes store sunlight. Sensors respond interactively to the flashes produced by visitors’ cameras: in a chain reaction they cause the LED integrated in each pailette to flash. A separate tour, as parallel narrative, takes visitors via an elevator through a second funnel where this time he or she can experience the peak of the Matterhorn – surrounded by snow-capped ridges – rising up on the horizon.

Architects: Buchner Bründler
in cooperation with the scenographer Element Design and iart interactive

Camera: Frank Kaltenbach
Editing: Peter Popp

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