UK: Exhibition at Kew's Nash Conservatory celebrates Shanghai Expo


From 2 to 31 October 2010 the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew will display a photographic exhibition hosted by the Chinese Embassy in London in the Nash Conservatory reflecting and celebrating The Expo 2010 in Shanghai China, as it draws to a close. This international fair represents 246 nations and international organisations, and has made history as the World Exposition with the widest international participation so far. Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank has provided the central theme for the UK Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010. Developed by one of the UK’s leading creative talents, Thomas Heatherwick, the UK Pavilion’s design incorporates thousands of seeds representing the world’s biodiversity.

hundreds of flags in China

Flags of all the nations participating in the Shanghai Expo

The exhibition includes a selection of impressive views of the Shanghai Expo site, among which are the Chinese and UK Pavilions. There are also images of people celebrating the Expo, from volunteers to worldwide visitors, and of the beautiful city itself, both historic and contemporary. A selection of photographs will be on display, taken by Kew’s Seed Morphologist Wolfgang Stuppy, which will honour the connection between The Expo 2010, and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The centrepiece of the UK's offering is the extraordinary pavilion building – a six-storey high object formed from some 60,000 slender transparent rods, which extend from the structure and quiver in the breeze. During the day, each of these 7.5 metre rods acts like fibre optic filaments, drawing on daylight to illuminate the interior, thereby creating a contemplative awe-inspiring space. At night, light sources at the interior end of each rod allow the whole structure to glow. The pavilion sits on a landscape looking like paper that once wrapped the building and that now lies unfolded on the site. The landscape provides an open space for public events and shelter for visitors making their way into the pavilion structure.

Inside the pavilion building is a unique visual representation of the UK's leading role in conservation worldwide. Working in partnership in over 50 countries around the world, the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership is one of the most ambitious and successful conservation programmes in the world. Made up of more than 120 institutions in 54 countries worldwide, the Millennium Seed Bank Partnership has successfully banked 10% of the world's wild plant species, and has ambitions to conserve 25% by 2020.

Dr Paul Smith, Head of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership said: "The UK Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo is a very exciting project and we are delighted to have been involved in conveying the importance of biodiversity and conservation through the inclusion of seeds in this iconic structure. Kew's Millennium Seed Bank Partnership enables human adaptation, innovation and resilience in the face of biodiversity loss, climate change and other environmental challenges. Kew is delighted to host this photographic exhibition and we invite those who were unable to make the trip to China to come along and take a look."