New Zealand Guest of Honour Pavilion
Wednesday 26 Jun 2013


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Patterson Associates were engaged to design the ‘Guest of Honour Pavilion' for New Zealand at the 2012 Frankfurt Book Fair as a key part of a year long promotion of New Zealand in Europe. They delivered this project in collaboration with production specialists Insideout Productions.

They were asked to present a coherent, unified, high-impact design that presents our literature and creative arts in the context of their unique history, culture and place in the world. They wanted to create an audience experience which brings people to their place so they experience what is special about Aotearoa, New Zealand. The project needed to be delivered quickly and within a tightly defined budget. The New Zealand Pavilion attracted a large number of visitors, up to 30,000 per day, exceeding targets.

"These are mythical islands, afloat, anchored off a perfect coast." CK Stead
The Pavilion was an island in twilight, floating in an ocean under a starry sky. On the Island are six glowing sub-pavilions arranged around a central meeting space. Inside each is an intimate, hanging library, scented with an essence of New Zealand. Here, books about New Zealand can be discovered and read under the starry sky.

The pavilion provided the Fair event with a physical ‘meeting place' or Marae for the benefit of the Fair and those who come to it. It Communicated in a coherent and unified way, the process of literature and storytelling. Sculpturally it demonstrated the relationship between literature andhuman thought and by doing so, engaged people through the surprise and delight of our pavilion, its story. This project was delivered it on time and on budget.

The Sub pavilions form a storytelling device, arranged sculpturally to form a single geometric shape, enveloping into a single 360-degree experience. They created a seamless integration between the content and ‘device.' The interiors of each sub pavilion revealed another layer - a physical library, each lightly scented with its own scent of New Zealand, that provided a more intimate and tactile experience. Each had a bespoke interior lining where the patterns vary between contemporary and traditional New Zealand forms, graphically compiled or composed by Pattersons. Each had a ‘book chandelier', with books suspended on stainless steel rings, lit so that each sub pavilion was like a light bulb and the books were the filament. There was a pair of custom carved Maori sconces, beautifully carved by Te Puia in relation to the book category, to hold back the heavy velvet curtains at entrance into the 'library'.

The overriding theme of the Pavilion, 'While you were sleeping' was dictated by the primary client, and had a large influence on the overall design. 

Watch a video of the event here

Patterson Associates Limited