The Danish are definitely representing at the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai. The Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG) in collaboration with 2+! and Arup won the national competition to create this magnificent structure. The pavilion is a big loop on which visitors can ride around on one of the 1,500 bikes available at the entrance, a chance to experience the Danish urban way. At the center of the pavilion there's a big pool with fresh water from Copenhagen's harbor, on which visitors can even swim. At the center of the pool you will find The Little Mermaid, a statue that has become a symbol for Denmark. And this time, it will be moved temporarily to China. In Bjarke Ingels words “it is considerably more resource efficient moving The Little Mermaid to China, than moving 1.3 billion Chinese to Copenhagen”. “The Danish pavilion should not only exhibit the Danish virtues. Through interaction, the visitors are able to actually experience some of Copenhagen's best attractions – the city bike, the harbor bath, the nature playground and an ecological picnic. With the pavilion, we relaunch the bike in Shanghai, as a symbol of modern lifestyle and sustainable urban development.” – Niels Lund Petersen, BIG associate
Bjarke Ingels: “The purpose of moving The Little Mermaid, is to show that open-mindedness doesn't necessarily cause you to lose origin or culture. Typically, national symbols are static – a fortress or a tower which is unshakable. Lately, Denmark's image as a tolerant and open-minded country has been at stake in the global media-scape. The perception of a nation, with a national symbol so dynamic that it can be moved to China for 6 months is a great way of showing that Denmark is still open-minded and liberal towards the rest of the world.”
Danish crown prince Frederik (right) with BIG (Bjarke Ingels on the far left) reviewing the design.