Shanghai Expo 2010: The Norwegian Pavilion

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Photo: norwayexpo.cnThe 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 ninth 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 Norwegian Pavilion.

By Lasse Hounsgaard

SHANGHAI, Jan. 4 – Last September the first of 15 trees was planted at the construction site of the Norwegian Expo Pavilion. The trees are to form the main part of the construction and were all in place by October after being shipped all the way from Moelven Limtræ AS in Norway to the Shanghai World Expo site.

Helen & Hard Architects designed pavilion and the spectacular structure will be used to raise awareness of how wood can be used in construction to innovate architecture and urban construction. The material has a historical bond to the pavilion because it was introduced at the World Expo in Brussels in 1958. It will stand out from the other pavilions as construction materials for the site will all be recycled after the expo. The 15 trees will remain, in group or individually, all around China after the event to symbolize a long lasting relationship between the two nations.

The relationship between Norway and China dates back 150 years to the first diplomatic ties between the countries and in 2004 the two countries celebrated the 50th anniversary of relations between Norway and the People’s Republic of China.

Photo: Helen & HardThe pavilion will introduce the audience to the magnificent nature of Norway, taking them through 5 different scenery that symbolize the coast, forest, fjords, mountains and arctic landscapes of the country. The nature of Norway is also seen as the theme of the pavilion and the slogan “Norway powered by nature” clearly emphasizes the point. According to Arild Blixrud, Commissioner General of the Norwegian Expo, the harmony in life and city is the direct consequence of the relationship with nature. Therefore the trees symbolize the close relationship that ties together Norway with nature and continues to inspire Norwegians.

The first landscape symbolizing the coast will be focused on sustainable energy and how to utilize renewable energy from sun, wind and water power and how this can improve the quality of air and climate in urban areas.
Moving from the coast into the forest, the audience will encounter a tree of knowledge, where the Norwegian science milieu will exhibit and display projects and visions for collaboration with China and other countries. It will emphasize knowledge sharing between Norway and China to realize new sustainable solutions.

The fjords will show the important relationship between man and water and how pollution affects the water and techniques to purify it. The fjords will be followed by a meeting with the mountains, and in this spot a business center will overview the landscape and serve as the main location for conferences, seminars and other events.

Lastly, the arctic landscape is an open, beautiful and dramatic area in which food safety, nutrition and climate will be the themes. A restaurant will conveniently be placed in the area to offer visitors a taste of Norway specialties like salmon, reindeer and lamb, as well as pure Norwegian drinking water, Norwegian aquavit and fish-oil.

Photo: norwayexpo.cnThe Norwegian pavilion has a budget of RMB150 million with funding provided by the government and private investors. The project is designed to increase awareness to wood construction, establish people to people relationships and give better connections in China, according to Blixrud. Jens Stoltenberg, prime minister of Norway, commented on the Expo as being a possibility to show Norway’s energy, creativeness, industrial and business culture to a large and important audience.

During the event, Norway is hoping to increase market access of Norwegian goods and services. Currently more than 200 Norwegian companies are operating in China. The pavilion could be a meeting point for politics, trade and industry and help develop social relations between the two nations. At the same time Norway is looking to strengthen knowledge sharing and collaboration in science and research between the two countries.

The Norwegian University of Science and Technology is interested in collaboration in the fields of energy production, water supply, cleaning and management, architecture using wood, city development and Norwegian furniture. In the future, projects involving aqua culture and medicine will be of interest as well.

Photo: norwayexpo.cnAdditionally, the pavilion aims to develop the quality and quantity of the cultural exchange with China and to promote Norway as a travel destination. Therefore, the Norwegian pavilion is planning to host numerous events on a daily basis, as well as celebrate the opening day of the Expo on April 30, 2010. Other important dates are the Norwegian constitution day which will be celebrated on May 17, 2010, followed by the grand celebration of Norway Day on May 28, 2010.

A day with prominent guests such as the crown prince of Norway, paying a visit to the Norwegian Expo site. All of these efforts will hopefully improve relations between China and Norway and is an investment in a joint future.

Further Reading
The complete Shanghai Expo 2010 series