Photos and text by Tim Bird, May 2010
The Finland pavilion at the World Expo in Shanghai has been attracting plaudits – including a front page picture in the international edition of the New York Times – for its graceful simplicity of form and soothing atmosphere. Finland in microcosm, as its designers would have it.
Kirnu hopes to attract 20,000 visitors day on average over the six-month Expo event. The Finnish theme in Shanghai is Sharing Inspiration, and the aim is to create lasting impressions of Finland for visitors rather than achieve a particular head count. Just the same, the more the merrier, and if you want to visit Kirnu and the rest of the Expo it’s running until the end of October. After that, the pavilion will be re-erected in another location, putting into action the principle of sustainability underlining the whole event.
The striking circular structure is the work of the Helsinki-based JKMM office under head architect Teemu Kurkela. Known as Kirnu or "Giant's Kettle", the pavilion is named after a geological feature whereby a smooth pothole is gradually carved in rock by the action of swirling water on a trapped stone or boulder.
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