Countdown Shanghai: UK’s Expo pavilion giftwraps creativity

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As the birthplace of World Expo - way back in 1851 - it seems fitting that the United Kingdom looks set to unveil one of the most spectacular pavilions when the 2010 event opens in Shanghai on May 1.

The UK has been part of each World Expo ever since that first event was held at London's fabled Crystal Palace in Hyde Park and organizers have spent more than 10 million pounds (€11.2 million) on their facilities in Shanghai - "a box, which would be pierced by 60,000 rods,'' according to the British Consul General to Shanghai, Carma Elliot, who has also told Chinese media the paper-like framework under the pavilion is meant to make the whole structure look like an "unwrapped gift.''

The UK Pavilion's website ( allows people to take a virtual tour of the complex, which features thousands of 7.5 meter long rods which will act like fiber optic filaments, drawing in sunlight to light the interior during the day and continuing to glow at night. Overall, the UK site will take up 6,000 square meters in Shanghai, making it one of the Expo's largest exhibits.

In keeping with the quite stunning appearance of the main structure, the UK pavilion will focus on creative industries "which will cover the areas of design, advertising, branding and production,'' according to the official website, which was designed by the digital agency Profero.

"I believe the UK's heritage and ongoing investment in creativity and innovation will resonate with Shanghai and the rest of China. Profero is honoured to contribute a key building block in the ongoing development of strong cultural and economic ties between the UK and China,'' said Daryl Arnold, Profero's group CEO when the wesbite was launched in November.

The 2010 Shanghai World Expo  will run from May 1 to October 31 and is expected to attract around 70 million visitors.