Countdown Shanghai: Swiss find balance between man and nature at World Expo pavilion

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There are pretty high concepts behind the Swiss delegation's pavilion at World Expo 2010 but in execution the plan looks so simple.

Overall, the Swiss pavilion at the event running from May 1 to October 31 has promised to reflect "a balance between man, nature and technology.''

To that end, organizers have spent an estimated 140 million yuan (14.5 million euros) on a 4,000 square meter site that boasts a chairlift to take visitors up through the structure and out over a rooftop park.

The entire complex is surrounded by solar panels set in a resin made from a mixture of soybean paste and natural oils.

"The concept of balance, as embodied in the traditional Chinese concept of yin and yang, inspired us for the Swiss Pavilion,'' a spokesperson from the Swiss organizing committee told Relaxnews.

"We think it is relevant to the sub-theme of the Shanghai Expo 'rural-urban interaction' which is also the theme Switzerland chose for its country pavilion.

"Rural and urban areas are complementary yet opposing. In Switzerland, there is a strong awareness of the importance of a harmonious co-existence of these two areas, due to the geographical characteristics of the country.''

The pavilion will also feature 50 viewing devices, illustrating "Swiss success stories'' in developing sustainable development and an IMAX film titled "The Alps,'' featuring the country's famous mountains ranges.

Twelve ordinary Swiss citizens have also been asked to tell their own stories - and visions of the future - and they'll be featured through life-sized screen images.

"The architecture illustrates the symbiosis between rural and urban areas and creates a sense of perfect balance between man, nature and technology,'' the Swiss spokesperson said.

The Swiss also said the motivation behind their presence at the World Expo - which is hoping to lure more than 70 million visitors during its run - was simple.

They say World Expos, which have been held since London hosted the first in 1851, "provide an opportunity to impart knowledge, to set up and expand networks, and to promote contact between different cultures. Moreover, they serve to create and improve the image of a country abroad.''