- Bicycle Culture by Design: Danish Pavillion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai

Expo 2010 takes place in Shanghai next year, from May 1 to October 31, with 70 million expected visitors. The Danish Pavillion is currently under construction in the city and it is designed by one of our most prolific and visionary architects, Bjarke Ingels from BIG. The theme of the Expo is ‘better city, better life’ and sustainability.
Here’s a visualisation of the pavillion and the inspiration behind it. The concept for the exhibition in the pavillion is Welfairytales. The Danish word ‘velfærd’ means “well-being” and is best known in English as welfare. So for some welfare is free handouts from the government. For us it’s a more specific and positive word.

Needless to say, bicycles and Danish bicycle culture are a main feature in the Danish Pavillion. The trademark Copenhagen Blue from our bike lanes is present on a bike lane that swirls gently up to the roof and 1000 city bikes are available for people to ride.

The iconic statue of The Little Mermaid will be uprooted from the harbour and transported to Shanghai. The Chinese have always loved the fairytales of Hans Christian Andersen. Back in 2005, the bicentenary of Andersen's birth, I was the producer of a comprehensive website celebrating the writer for Danish Broadcasting. Having the site translated into Chinese was something I insisted upon. Danes grow up with Andersen's stories, but the Chinese are much more passionate about them.To highlight the fact that the harbour in Copenhagen is now clean enough to swim in, The Little Mermaid will be placed in water actually transported from Copenhagen harbour.

If it was up to me, they could keep the lame little statue. We have a much more brilliant monument.
For those interested in design and architecture, Bjarke Ingels appeared on TED where he speaks about his work ethics and process. Fascinating stuff. He explains also the inspiration for the Danish Pavillion, including reintroducing the bicycle to China.

Read More