Pavilion at EXPO 2005, Japan
A pathway through a Nordic oasis
Nordic unity and national expression
Commissioned by the Nordic Council of Ministers, the Joint
Nordic pavilion for the 2005 Expo in Aichi, Japan, needed to
express both the unity of the five Nordic countries - providing a
coherent experience for visitors - while allowing each nation to
While the Nordic countries cooperate closely, they each have
their own individual identity and agenda. The design for the
pavilion needed to allow Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Iceland &
Finland to present particular aspects of their culture, trade,
technology and art - and all in different media like photography,
video, models and displays.
Without a strong concept, there was a danger that the pavilion
would end up as a series of individual booths- more like a
convention-centre trade show than a well-designed exhibition.
Common design language
The final design was constructed around the theme of 'An oasis
in the North' which had two complementary meanings: that the Nordic
countries are a welcoming and relaxing oases in the world and that
the pavilion itself would be an oasis - a place to leave the noise
of the Expo behind.
This idea provided a framework for the 36 x 36 meter pavilion. A
wooden walkway, looped around the inside of the building, divided
the pavilion into exhibition zones and, in itself, provided a
central gathering place - letting people stop and reflect before
exploring again. Thus the walkway acted as both a circulation
system and an organizing device that expressed Nordic unity but
allowed for diversity of content.
We made a special feature at the exhibition - read more
The wooden pathway took visitors through a variety of zones,
which explored topics like Nordic forests or the potential of wind
energy. In many cases, subtle ties between Japan and the Nordic
countries were underscored. Even the meticulously-crafted walkway
itself signalled an appreciation of design down to the smallest
detail - a view shared by both Scandinavia and Japan.
With 2.2 million visitors in 6 months, the pavilion made a major
contribution to branding both the Nordic region and its individual
members, while building cultural and economic relations with
Design: Peter Bysted, Philip Egebak, Charlotte
Client: Nordic Council of Ministers
Read about the LED light installation
at the Expo here.