Shanghai Expo 2010: The Nordic Lighthouse Project

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The 2010 World Exposition in Shanghai will be the first registered one in a developing country. Officially known as “Expo Shanghai 2010,” it will last 184 days and provide China an opportunity to show off its remarkable economic growth. The expo will also give foreign nations and companies a chance to further develop business partnerships with China and Chinese companies. This is the thirteenth in an ongoing series that will look at the upcoming expo, from country pavilions to trade development. In this article, we take a look at the Nordic Lighthouse Project.

By Caroline Lundstrom

Mar. 26 – The Nordic Lighthouse Project will take place in Shanghai from April 27 to October 31, 2010. What originally started as a Danish initiative has grown into a project involving participants from Norway, Sweden, Iceland and Finland. The Nordic Center at Fudan University is also playing an active role in the project.

The building will be located in Shanghai’s Yangpu District and will consist of three large floors. The first floor will feature a lifestyle exhibition where participants are encouraged to display and market their products. The products are placed in soft curved transparent spaces. No two spaces will look the same thanks to its unique design. The second and third floors are designated for business to business meetings, conferences and exhibitions.

While the Nordic Lighthouse will be open during the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai, it is not officially part of the Shanghai Expo. “This is a deliberate choice, since the option to do commercial activities are very limited inside the Expo area and we want to provide a commercial platform for Nordic companies to brand themselves towards the Chinese visitors,” said Nicholas Enemark Elley, the event manager for the Nordic Lighthouse Project.

Participants are invited to use the lighthouse as a place to invite prospective partners, officials, members of the media, and potential customers. “The goal of the project is to create an interesting Nordic branding platform,” explained Mr. Enemark Elley.

The lighthouse will feature a media lab where Chinese consumers will be invited to participate in research on consumer preferences. Using iMotions technology, the lab will be able to track a consumer’s emotions by eye movements when he or she is presented with pictures of the participating company’s products, advertisement or store concepts.

Officials say the lighthouse is a symbol of common Nordic Chinese and Nordic common features. They hope the project will represent the strong bond between China and the Nordic nations. The project’s brochure calls the lighthouse “the beacon that brings light and hope to welcome strangers. It lights your path no matter who you are and where you are going.”

Due to its strategic location close to one of the expo’s transportation hubs, an estimate of 5,000 people per hour during peak hours will walk pass the lighthouse. Officials hope that the architecture will attract many of them inside to get a glimpse of upcoming Scandinavian brands. And who knows; the next Lego or IKEA might be on display.

Further Reading
The complete Shanghai Expo 2010 series