Polish pavilion for Shanghai Expo 2010


Shanghai Expo 2010: Polish architects Wojciech Kakowski, Natalia Paszkowska and Marcin Mostafa have been chosen to design the Polish pavilion at Expo 2010 in Shanghai.

The building's perforated cladding is derived from Polish folk-art paper cut-outs.

More Dezeen stories on Shanghai Expo 2010:
United Arab Emirates pavilion by Foster + Partners
Thomas Heatherwick designs British pavilion for Shanghai Expo 2010

Update 08/01/08: see plans and elevations of this building in our new story.

Here's some text about the Polish pavilion:



Team of architects: Wojciech Kakowski, Natalia Paszkowska, Marcin Mostafa


In the contemporary world with its abundance of visual experience, with the pictorial language of communication reigning supreme, with the almost unconstrained and instant accessibility of iconographic material, an exposition piece of architecture will only be attractive insofar it can offer perceptual sensations attainable only through direct, unmediated exposure to out-of-the-ordinary, singular stimuli, insofar it can provide a quality of experience born out of the chemistry of inter-sensory stimulation.

Given the nature of the exposition, the exhibition facility has to denote, by its esthetic distinctiveness, the country of origin, has to constitute, by the strength of its stylistic connotations, an evocative, recognizable and memorable cultural ideogram. In our design, the cultural idiom is primarily conveyed through the theme, the motif of folk-art paper cut-out. Or, more precisely, through a rendering of the motif, a transcription of an elementary esthetic code into the contemporary language of architectural décor.

The transcription rationale was twofold. First of all, we did not wish the design to be literally folklorish, a mechanical multiplication of convention-approved set patterns. The intention was for the structure décor to draw on and make reference to tradition, but ultimately to be that tradition’s contemporary reinterpretation, a creative extension into the present day by way of inspiration rather than replication.

Secondly, we aspired to make the structure in its own right, in a purely architectural dimension, a significant landmark, a showcase of Polish design achievements. That it should be an attractive, eye-catching exterior both in daylight, against the panorama of other Expo facilities, as well as a mesmerizing experience at night with the edifice drawn by the multi-colored light seeping through the cut-out patterns. And reversely, that it should provide inside visitors with comparable experience by shaping the outer skin patterning in such a way that the sun rays shining through would chisel, by light and shade, the space under the vault.

The structure’s overall shape, with many slanting planes, on the one hand complements and rounds out, by the suggestion of a folded sheet of paper, the ‘cut-out’ narrative, on the other creates inside a geometrically intriguing and flexible space that can be creatively apportioned, by inner divisions, to different exhibition, performance and utility functions and uses.

Posted on Sunday January 6th 2008 at 10:06 pm by . Copyright policy | Comments policy

  • Tyler

    yeah, gigantic polish folk table cloth :D

  • r.n

    Nice and simple

  • kangnar

    expos suck!

  • Bozo

    We’re on a road to nowhere

  • Paulina

    Last time we also had very interesting project…:) Very interesting….im looking forward to see it :)

  • JImmy


  • Q

    Nice geometry, clean, simple. No nurbs BS. I’ve seen some nice polish stuff lately. Does anyone have links on good polish architects?..

  • polish architect

    some other intersting polish architectural studios:

    MEDUSA – http://www.medusagroup.pl/menu.htm
    TAMIZO – http://tamizo.pl/
    KWK PROMES – http://www.kwkpromes.pl/
    CENTRALA – http://www.centrala.net.pl/


  • g5
  • PEE
  • Tyler

    my favourite is http://www.jems.pl/ and linked above Tamizo. Also check http://www.lampeluna.com for interior and product design.

  • me

    o, g5 – you’re watching same blogs as I

    pozdrawiam :-)

  • fvale

    “We’re on a road to nowhere”.
    Bozo, I find that amazing, serious :)

  • kuba

    “We’re on a road to nowhere”. Indeed, contempory Polish architecture, while admittedly polished, is derivative and bland. Polish architects should look at their own rich history, wonderful structures from the 60 s that are constantly under threat, such as Hryniewiecki’s Supersam or Katowice station and artist’s such as Alina Ślesińska. The assault of capitalism, a rich urban environment of failed social ideologies and reconstructed nationalism, the question of where and how Poland should position itself in Europe, all this should be driving a critical architecture there. Instead all we see are polite formal games. Wake up Poland!

  • juan

    the texture, the pavillion and the polish architecture sucks!

  • czesuaf

    I can’t say I’m a fan of this project. It gives the impression that besides folk art Poland has nothing interesting to show to the world. It’s presented in a very simple, obvious way, not to say trivial. Similar idea has been used already on previous Expo exhibition. I’d rather see sometnihg fresh and new.

  • carlo

    polish architect You must be kidding!!!
    http://www.centrala and http://www.tamizio looks realy poorly
    from this sites except http://www.jems Poland has nothing to show.
    at this ground yours pavilion looks pretty cool.
    some intersting archits from east that i know is http://www.a69.cz

  • wojtek

    as much as i like what centrala does in terms of “activism” and promotion of architecture the studio itself has yet to produce anything worth noting. that said, mentioning them in respected design blog kinda sabotages the chance to really show whats going on in our local architecture/design. Im just a fan, not architect or designer, but im sure you pros can provide some links to quality stuff because there IS some.

    I agree that putting yet another folk refence in architectural context seems a bit cheap and played out.It has been done with fashion, rugs etc. but the pavillon itself looks quite neat.

  • roadkill

    give me a the option to watch paint dry and i will get more excited!

  • kurosheep

    This is indeed depressing stuff. It is like Philippe Starck in the 80’s trying to design buildings in Tokyo!

  • adjSpcs

    I think this is an interesting project. Not particularly novel, but contemporary none the less. The issue of it calling back to the folk is not such a big deal to me- the project explores issues of excess and quite frankly, the unattractive- which is quite interesting. Scale of patterning is a bit out of whack though…

  • Evie

    Czesuaf i think your wrong. The Pavillion in my opinion presents a high quality piece of architecture. Comparing to some crap stuff that have been seen for last few years in Poland (with few exeptions), we can be quite proud of what’s going to be shown in Shanghai. For people from abroad, check out some new designs in polish city – Wroclaw. I’ve seen some good stuff recently from there, but can’t remeber name of architects…Maybe somone will help?

  • Pesto

    I’m pretty sure that this pavilion won’t have the same illusion in final, like on visualization. This model shows (not fresh) concept hard to perform in reality… We’ll see the final in 2 years.

  • shinz

    Very typical contemporary sculpture-look-a-like. Does it have more connection to Polish other than the folk prints with three Polish name on the project?

  • Wow. Not being so jaded about things Polish, I like it. If the outside looks like folk art then make the inside reflect the othe parts of Polish culture you wish to show the world. Remember the world knows very little about Poland, show them all sides of this wonderful country.

  • martin

    Have you seen the polish pavilion for the aichi expo 2005???? It won some prize for the most beautiful pavilion on the expo :))) i think this one relates to the one designed by ingarden and exy architect … google it :)

  • Agata

    No super, i to “wycinanka” z moich stron (Kołbiel) :-)