Denmark Pavilion, Expo 2010, China, Shanghai

Double-spiral architecture

A radical design in both architecture and lighting. The iconic double-looped shape, a spiralling exhibition space, biking lanes, a pool of water with the famous Little Mermaid, and a beautiful dynamic illumination of both inner spaces and outer façades. During nighttime the façade displayed a vibrant, but stylish show of patterns and animations that made the building come to life.

The Denmark Pavilion for Expo 2010 in Shanghai was designed by the young and successful Danish company Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG), and in addition to an iconic double-looped shape, it featured a media façade with 3600 pixels along the spiralling outer surface. The pixels were produced by a pattern of holes, which were fitted with diffusing tubes in different sizes. Each tube had a multi-color LED fixture and was controlled by a custom media playback system. This system was also tied in with a series of light and temperature sensors around the building, thereby controlling both light intensity and color temperature.çades_expo.php


Building or project owner : Danish Enterprise and Construction Authority

Architecture : Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

Project artist/ concept/ design/ planning : BIG, CAVI / DUL (Aarhus University) and TEKNE Produktion, Rune Nielsen

Structural engineering : ARUP / Tongji Design Institute

Facade design : Bjarke Ingels Group (BIG)

Light design : Tobias Ebsen (CAVI)

Light hardware (LED hardware) : Martin Professional A/S

Lighting control software : Custom software by CAVI / TEKNE Produktion

Project co-ordination : BIG and CAVI


Facade type and geometry (structure) : Double layered steel construction with acrylic tubes in varying sizes. The diameters represent the structural stress on the building at the given point.

Kind of light creation : Custom LED product mounted above each acrylic tube. The chamber around each tube was painted white to reflect light evenly. Each fixture is mounted with magnets to the steel, eliminating the need to drill into the construction.

Resolution and transmitting behaviour : Low resolution - 3600 LED light fixtures (3.5 W) mounted inside the façade, illuminating the holes perforating the building.

Pixel distance : 40-50 centimeter

Luminace : Low brightness - the façade is only used from dusk to late night.

Urban situation : Located in the 2010 Expo area in Shanghai. Has been decommissioned as of November 2010.

Description of showreel : Random playlists of animated patterns - pulsating, sparkling, glowing and moving along the length of the façade. Colors were restricted to white and red.

Participatory architecture & urban interaction