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August 19, 2009

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A dream comes true for city's state-owned enterprises

As the only pavilion of local enterprises, the Shanghai Corporate Pavilion has been attracting people's attention since it was announced last year. Although it's still under construction, the simulated diagram of the pavilion has already impressed a lot of people with its nickname "Dream Cube."

Located in the enterprise zone of World Expo 2010, the Shanghai Corporate Pavilion will occupy an area of about 4,000 square meters. It's 24-meter-high main building is held up by four huge pillars.

The budget is about 300 million yuan (US$44 million), which is contributed by about 40 state-owned enterprises. It is being built by Shanghai Guosheng Co.

Construction began in late April and will be completed by the end of this year, with all the building materials environmentally friendly.

The pavilion has the theme of "My City, Our Dreams" and gathers together talented architects and artists all over the world.

The team is headed by Shi Derong, one of the main producers of the opening ceremony at the 2007 Special Olympic Games, and members include: designer Dr Edwin Schlossberg; Gu Shuhang, general manager of the 2007 Special Olympics opening ceremony; and Bobby Dickinson, who has been the lighting designer at several Olympics opening ceremonies as well as at the Oscars and Grammy award ceremonies.

The Shanghai Corporate Pavilion will provide visitors with a 17-minute interactive experience in four different zones - Sound of the City, Close to the Huangpu River, Road of Shanghai and Travel to the Future.

Using pictures and music, visitors will be encouraged to think about how to make the city's future better.

When people step into the pavilion, they will first be in the Sound of the City zone, which is also the waiting zone. It includes all the ground area under the main building.

In this zone, visitors will hear music and an introduction to Shanghai, as well as instructions as to how to enjoy the visit.

Then, visitors will go through an automatic lift and a long corridor of hundreds of meters and finally enter the main pavilion on the second floor, which is the second part of the whole experience. On their way, people will watch a movie on the walls of both sides of the corridor which is a brief history of Shanghai, from little village to huge modern city.

The highlight comes at the third zone, Road of Shanghai, where visitors will begin their journey with a dialogue between a senior man and his granddaughter.

They represent different ideas on the city and the lives of two generations.

This part will last for over five minutes, with various problems raised. But finally, the two will reach an agreement on how to make a better city and a better life.

"The whole part is like a 3D movie show but much more than that," says Shi, chief producer of the pavilion. "We will add a lot of interactive elements into the whole visiting experience.

"The movie content, even the light of the whole building may change according to the visitors' responses."

After their dialogue, there comes the last part where Dr Butterfly will show up. This character originates from the ancient Chinese tale "Zhuang's Butterfly," which tells a story about a dream of an old saint.

In this part, Dr Butterfly will discuss with the audience the questions appearing in part three and give his own opinion.

"There will be no single answer to those questions since the problems of the city are always complicated," Shi says.

"What we want to show is the concept of how to deal with the problems. We're just raising an example actually."

Although it's the last part of the journey, it's not the end. After stepping out of the show zone, visitors will reach the gift shops and a brand new "robot restaurant." In this restaurant, all the meals will be cooked by an intelligent robot system without any human chefs at all. It will be a grand buffet but not free.

"Although it's called the Corporate Pavilion, we don't plan to make it a commercial or industrial exhibition," says Shi.

"Instead, we want to show the direction of the future, on what enterprises may do for city development, such as how to use technology and how to take responsibility."

Compared with some other pavilions, the budget of 300 million yuan is not big.

There are a total 17 pavilions in the enterprise zone of Expo Shanghai, but the production team is hoping that it is the best.

"It's a show of our attitude and ability, and we believe we will make it," says Gu, the other main producer of the project.

What to see

Besides the dreamlike appearance of the pavilion, the visiting journey inside will be mainly led by a 3D interactive movie, raising discussions on various city problems and future directions.

What to eat

A "robot restaurant" will be operating in the pavilion, mainly serving buffet food, where visitors will enjoy meals cooked by an intelligent robot system rather than human beings.

Modern technologies

Power generation with water heated by solar energy

To achieve the plan of saving energy, the roof of Shanghai Corporate Pavilion will be covered by solar energy collecting facilities of over 2,200 square meters to heat water stored for power generation.

Different from the traditional technology of this kind of power generation in which the water is usually heated to over 150 degrees Celsius, this new technology will only need to heat the water to 95 degrees to achieve the same result. When the pavilion is lit up during the day, the energy will be supplied naturally.

Recyclable materials

When looking at the glamorous appearance of the pavilion, you could hardly imagine that the outside walls of the building are actually made from waste CDs. According to an official survey, there are over 30 million waste CDs generated in Shanghai every year, while only 25 percent of them are recycled.

Recycled CDs can be made into new plastic material, which will be applied by the Shanghai Corporate Pavilion as the material of its outside walls. These materials will also be very easy to recycle once the Expo has finished.


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