ESI Design in collaboration with Atelier FCJZ create imaginative pace for the Shanghai Corporate Pavilion for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai
This week, WAN talks with Edwin Schlossberg, principal designer at New York-based ESI Design, a pioneer in the field of experience design, which designed the Shanghai Corporate Pavilion for the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai.
Here’s a look at the 40,000 square-foot Pavilion, known as the 'Dream Cube', which encourages visitors to participate in a multimedia experience comprising cutting-edge technology, dreamlike environments, collaborative social spaces and sustainable materials.
Inspired by the citizens of Shanghai, the Dream Cube takes visitors the city's past, present and future. The experience also transforms moment-by-moment via the spectators' collective participation. Crowd-sourced photos uploaded by the public at the Dream Cube website blend with stunning video on immense media walls. Beds of LED crystalline reeds change color with the sweep of visitors' hands. A 360-degree interactive theater showcases the audience's gestures and physical actions, which trigger dramatic changes to millions of LED lights on the Dream Cube's façade. The Dream Cube seeks to set new trends for future designs of World Expo experiences and other large-scale public events.
Inside the Dream Cube, visitors travel through a 20-minute journey inspired by fourth-century Chinese philosopher Zhuangzi's dream that he was a butterfly. The journey starts as visitors queue beneath the massive, yet ethereal structure, where thousands of LED rods pulse with light. From the queue, visitors ascend on an escalator, surrounded by bluish light and atmospheric music, into the heart of the Dream Cube. There, they stroll along the ‘Dreamer's Path’, a visual story of the city of Shanghai through time – from a small rural village to a vibrant mega-metropolis. Along the path, interactive areas fill with flying butterflies, changing seasons, crowd-sourced images of city life, sculptural lighting and surprise video ‘portals’ that respond to visitor interaction.
The path ultimately leads visitors into a massive circular theater — the Dream Cube Control Room — where they gather to participate in a 360-degree interactive video experience narrated by actress and director Xu Jinglei, who plays Professor Butterfly in the Dream Cube story. The giant screen immerses the audience in the sights and sounds of Shanghai through stunning visual flyovers and special effects, while Professor Butterfly invites them to reflect on the challenges and opportunities facing Shanghai. She praises the strength of Shanghai's citizens and encourages them to work together to create a better city for all. At the end, Professor Butterfly reveals live-feed images of the exterior façade, as she rallies the crowd to wave their arms high in the air. In response, the Dream Cube's exterior pulses with color in time with their collective actions.
The Dream Cube is sponsored by more than 30 corporations under the State-owned Asset Supervision and Administration Commission of the Shanghai Municipal Government, and was constructed by the Shanghai Guosheng (Group) Company Ltd. It was designed by ESI Design in collaboration with Architect Yung Ho Chang and Atelier FCJZ. The Dream Cube's production team includes Spinifex (media production) from Australia, PRG (systems integration) from Germany, Full Flood (lighting) from the U.S. and Pico (exhibit fabrication) from China.
To download the podcast with Ed Schlossberg, click here.