Architect: BIG - Bjarke Ingels Group

What: The Copenhagen-based BIG architects, together with ideas bureau 2+1 and Arup engineers, collaborated to create the Danish pavilon, which was conceived as an accurate showcase of all things Denmark. As BIG’s founder, Bjarke Ingels, explains: “The pavilion is designed, as a piece of Copenhagen’s bicycle track, tied as a knot. 1500 city bikes located on the roof offer our Chinese hosts a chance to experience the Danish urban way. Thus, when you arrive to Expo, you visit Denmark, get a bike and explore the rest of the world!”

Though the Danish pavilion is more than just a giant velodrome. It also includes a swimming pool at its center, filled with sea water from Copenhagen’s harbour, which was brought to Shanghai on a tanker. Another piece of Denmark is the sculptor Edvard Eriksen’s original Mermaid, which is usually installed in Copenhagen, but which has been transported to Shanghai to give the ultimate Danish experience.

“When we visited the World Exhibition in Zaragossa, we were stunned by the artificial content. State propaganda in paper maché,” says Ingels. “The Danish Expo pavilion 2010 is the real deal, and not just endless talking. You can ride the city bike, take a swim in the harbor bath, and see the authentic Little Mermaid.”