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 express itself.

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



Building connections

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 Japan.



Design: Peter Bysted, Philip Egebak, Charlotte Hauch

Client: Nordic Council of Ministers

Date: 2005

Read about the LED light installation at the Expo here.