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February 9, 2010

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Spain cloaks its pavilion in tiger's 'skin'

SPAIN will offer its 2010 Chinese New Year's greetings throughout the entire duration of the World Expo - with a pavilion covered with the "skin" of a tiger.

The steel frame of the 7,000-square-meter structure - in a prominent position on the bank of the Huangpu River near the Lupu Bridge - is being covered, or as organizers prefer, "dressed" in more than 8,000 wicker panels.

Three different colored panels, brown, beige, and black, will create the impression of a Tiger.

The traditional use of wicker is "one of the many common commodities between Spain and China," said General Commissioner Maria Tena yesterday as organizers showed the site to reporters.

"Using the wicker is a call to look to the future without forgetting our traditions."

"The Basket," as some have dubbed the pavilion, is "on track for completion," said Construction Manager Marco Bonamoneta. Workers have been fastening the panels to the steel and glass structure for two weeks.

The panels were handmade by craftsmen in Shandong Province, each one unique in design. Each also has a tag that indicates its position on the frame. Workers assemble particular panels like a puzzle.

The design is so specific because the black panels will form the shapes of Chinese characters - sun and moon, for instance. All will reference elements of nature.

Three exhibition rooms, with installations by Spanish film makers from three decades, will be inside.

Visitors will pass through the halls as the rooms move from Spain's past to present to future.


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