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Return to World Expo 2010: What happened next? – Day Six, Part 2 of the DCU Business School Trip to Shanghai 2010

In Angerer & Obermayr Messegastronomie, Ansgar Halbfas, Balancity, Business Education, DCU Business School, Dublin City University, German Pavilion, German-Sino House, Ireland, MBS in Marketing, MSc in Business Management, MSc in E-commerce, Next Generation Management, Pavilion of the Future, Rhone-Alpes Lighting Pavilion, Rhone-Alpes Urban Case, Shanghai, Travel, World Expo 2010 on July 28, 2010 at 8:30 pm

We had left our story with the intrepid group of DCU Business School students outside German Pavilion at 5pm in the afternoon in the summer heat of Shanghai. The German Pavilion was closed to the public but our new found friend Ansgar had agreed to meet us later in the evening to bring us on a tour….if it opened again.

Balancity.

Balancity.

With time to kill, the group went their various ways. Myself, Lorna NiMhuiri and Keith Lawless travelled back to the Puxi site to visit some of the urban best practice case pavilions in the urban square. Lorna and Keith are working on a group practicum as part of their MSc in Business Management in the LED sector and there were some possible leads for their client in the Rhone-Alpes Lighting Pavilion and in the Pavilion of the Future. After a pretty long walk and a small water fight, where there were no winners except the amused (and confused) Chinese onlookers, we eventually reached our destination. I am not sure there was much to take from the Rhone-Alpes pavilion or their light show but I really enjoyed the various exhibits in the Pavilion of the Future housed in the former Nanshi Power Plant.

Astronaut Haibao outside the Pavilion of the Future at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The Pavilion of the Future is housed in the former Nanshi Power Plant.

Astronaut Haibao outside the Pavilion of the Future at World Expo 2010 in Shanghai. The Pavilion of the Future is housed in the former Nanshi Power Plant.

As you walked through the Pavilion of the Future, the exhibits introduced different facets that will need to be considered in future urban design including environmental factors. Using giant books, sculptures and other media from history the exhibits go on to contextualise much of the thinking from history. The main display, Dream of Yesterday, however was the best. It was a huge hall with gigantic 36 meter high screen showing an animated film against the backdrop of themed sculptures and other settings. As you leave, you enter the Dream Is Approaching section which focuses on bringing many of the concepts that we saw in to the real world including the Intelligent Home, Healthy Community, Low-Carbon City and Harmonious Environment. There were some really good examples of cutting edge technologies from intelligent refrigerators to home biodiagnostics amongst others. Lo and behold, even Lorna and Keith found some material for their practicum – intelligent lighting is part of the future!

Multiple Possibilities in the Pavilion of the Future features a 36-metre-high screen and animated film.

Multiple Possibilities in the Pavilion of the Future features a 36-metre-high screen and animated film.

The group assembled again at the bar to have a stein of beer at the German restaurant where Ansgar was waiting with our beloved Sennheiser wireless earphones.  Angerer & Obermayr Messegastronomie of Munich run the restaurant and it is worth a visit if only for the beer…..apparently. Despite the quality of the beer, the excitement of the German pavilion was too much of a draw….even for the Irish. It was open again. Steins down, off we go!

Laureen Morrissette, Barry Sweeney, Rob Elliffe and Niamh NicClamha toast Ansgar and the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Laureen Morrissette, Barry Sweeney, Rob Elliffe and Niamh NicClamha toast Ansgar and the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The German Pavilion occupies a plot measuring around 6,000 m² – the largest area a national pavilion can be given – and they have packed in a lot – so much so, I won’t and can’t do it justice in this blog so check out the German’s really excellent virtual tour – the interactive round trip. As we had already toured the exterior, we went through the tunnel which is lit in blue (and features different media representing transport routes to enter Germany) and then in to the urban planning area, The Urban Office, where you could explore some of the German ideas around urban planning.

DCU Business School Students in the tunnel entering the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

DCU Business School Students in the tunnel entering the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The German architects put a lot of effort in to interactive elements that use all the senses so you could see and touch different types of materials as well as explore mini-cases on different ideas like multigenerational housing, the evolution of transportation from individual mobility to public transportation. From the urban space, you transition into The Garden. Ansgar explained that they wanted a contrast in the design and this was achieved by using different material, such as fabrics hung from the ceiling and interactive elements hung from the same that you literally put your head in to. The Garden sequed in to The Depot, a exhibit based on a German Warehouse with towers of crates illustrating the manufacturing and design legacy of Germany – Bosch, Sennheiser, Villeroy and Boche, Hansgrohe and Adidas are just some of the famous brands I recognised. I was particularly taken with the Otto Bock Blizzard wheelchair which I didn’t no much about but is transforming the lives of many physically disabled people. Ansgar really hit home the policy of “Designed in Germany, Made in China” – a true algorithmic economy vision that Irish policymakers should not only be aspiring to but emulating.

e Germans! Beatrice Metzler and Martin Hennig (our token Germans - only kidding!) pose at The Depot in the German Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

e Germans! Beatrice Metzler and Martin Hennig (our token Germans - only kidding!) pose at The Depot in the German Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

As you exit the Depot, you enter the Factory exhibit which has a full production system and some sustainable product ideas. It wasn’t working while were there but Ansgar explained that usually you could control the system using some augmented reality applications they have – some of which can be controlled by your iPhone Touch. We continued quickly through The Park exhibit to the Studio.

Siobhan Buckley and Beatrice Metzler (one of our token Germans!) attempt to read their heights at the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Siobhan Buckley and Beatrice Metzler (one of our token Germans!) attempt to read their heights at the German Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The Studio was a really enjoyable space with lots of interactive exhibits that gave a different more light-hearted perspective on German culture and a bounty of ‘silly photo’ opps ranging from Carnival masks to German karaoke. Oh yes, we had an attempt. Who else but Laurynas, our dependable Lithuanian. He literally will try anything!

Niamh NicClamha as a little girl at Carnival (she really is the one in the middle!)

Niamh NicClamha as a little girl at Carnival (she really is the one in the middle!)

The City Square was the next exhibit. It was good to take a break and rest on some stone blocks and watch a multimedia piece on urban life in Germany but this was just an apertif for the highlight of the German pavilion, The Energy Source. The Energy Source is an interactive experience hosted by two students, a German boy and a Chinese girl. They guide, encourage and cajole the audience in to collaborating to change the color of and move the Energy Source, a large ball hanging from the centre of the ceiling in a spherical room. The Energy Source reflects the sound of the audience and follows the two hosts using concealed packs that they carry. The hosts bring you in to their show until becomes the audience’s. You really have to be there but trust me it’s good. Check out some of our German Pavilion pictures on flickr.

The Energy Source at the German Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The Energy Source at the German Pavilion at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

We must have made an impression on Ansgar. He recalled my interest in interactive education and organised for a private tour of the German-Sino House with the Facility Manager, Soeren Puerschel. Germany is in an unusual situation in that it effectively has two sites at the World Expo, the main pavilion and a second exhibit, which while not officially a pavilion, is nearly more impressive than many of the pavilions at World Expo, i.e. the German-Sino house.

The German Chinese House at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The German Chinese House at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The German Chinese House epitomises the “Designed in Germany, Made in China” philosophy and is the result of a three year study tour of the next four cities after Shanghai and Beijing. Although officially closed by the time we finished in the German pavilion, Soeren welcomed us and gave a great tour. The house structure is made of bamboo and metal – sort of representing Chinese natural resources and German engineering. Soeren explained that bamboo is a material that is cheap, underused, abundant in the Far East, sustainable, very strong but flexible. Unfortunately it has fallen out of favour. The idea of the German Chinese House is to showcase how bamboo can not only support a modern structure but looks good. And it really does!

Soeren Puerschel and Ansgar Halbfas explain the design of the German Chinese House to the DCU Business School group at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Soeren Puerschel and Ansgar Halbfas explain the design of the German Chinese House to the DCU Business School group at the World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

So what about interactive education? Well, when we came Soeren had a photo taken of our group on the stairs of the House. He then brought us in to a room to face a wall with a computer application projected 16 times on it – our group numbered 16 on the visit! Serendipity was calling. Soeren and his assistants then guided us through a game whereby we built sustainable buildings through computer software which interpreted our shadows on the wall. For example, the first step required us to create a shadow in the shape of our building – the software interpreted this shape using digital cameras above and behind us and then projected our shadows as buildings.

Sean Donnelly, Niamh NicClamha and the DCU Business School group create virtual buildings at the German Chinese House at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Sean Donnelly, Niamh NicClamha and the DCU Business School group create virtual buildings at the German Chinese House at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

We also had to simulate trees and by holding hands connect our power. When we finished all the steps all our buildings were connected and displayed as a city block in a sim city type environment accessible online at http://www.deutschland-und-china.com/media_de_detal_127.shtml. Our Game ID is 9693 – that is the address of the DCU Business School block designed at the German-Sino House. Come and visit!

Block 9693 (Designed by Irish, Made in China, Developed by Germans)

Block 9693 (Designed by Irish, Made in China, Developed by Germans)

As Soeren explained, whilst our group was the large and we knew each other, most people coming to the House come in twos and threes and have never met. The game, designed with Aachen University, not only teaches some sustainable building principles, it acts as a means of connecting people who had previously never met. Soeren brought us upstairs to show us some of the other products that have been generated from their study tour. This included modular bamboo furniture including some units themed around each of the four cities visited. Soeren urged us not just to consider Beijing and Shanghai but also the next 4-10 cities, all of which are huge by European standards – this may be a good lesson for Irish companies and indeed Irish universities.

Modular bamboo furniture design in Germany, made in China displayed at the German Chinese House at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Modular bamboo furniture design in Germany, made in China displayed at the German Chinese House at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

After thanking Soeren and Ansgar, we had to return our VIP passes to Indrė Kumpikevičiūtė at the Lithuanian pavilion. We were all fading and in need of some nourishment so we headed to the Argentinian pavilion for some beef – it was good, really good! And so, at 10pm we left the World Expo 2010 and caught a taxi back to the Ya Fan Longmen Hotel for a drink…or two.

Time to go home. DCU Business School students leave World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Time to go home. DCU Business School students leave World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

More photos on flickr. Day Seven to follow….
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Return to World Expo 2010 – Day Six, Part 1 of the DCU Business School Trip to Shanghai 2010

In Ansgar Halbfas, Balancity, Business Education, Chinese Food, Chinese Private Enterprise Pavilion, Chinese State Shipbuilding Pavilion, DCU Business School, Dining, Doing Business in China, Dublin City University, German Pavilion, Ireland, MBS in Marketing, MSc in Business Management, MSc in E-commerce, Russian Pavilion, Saudi Arabian Pavilion, Shanghai, USA Pavilion, World Expo 2010 on July 27, 2010 at 11:30 am

Given the previous late night, the group were given the option of travelling over toWorld Expo in the morning or meeting in the afternoon. Surprisingly a group of 15 managed to get out of bed and we set out for the Expo site, this time without Xiaoxia to guide us. There was a great atmosphere on the train; probably due to the relief from the 36 degree heat outside – apparently the hottest day at Expo so far! We decided to check out Zone D and E this morning. These sites are on the Puxi site on the opposite side of the river to where the country pavilions are located.

Barry Sweeney and Nick Opris follow Wafa AlMuhamm and the others up to the walkbridge at the Puxi Site of World Expo 2010, Shanghai. It is 36 degrees.

Barry Sweeney and Nick Opris follow Wafa AlMuhamm and the others up to the walkbridge at the Puxi Site of World Expo 2010, Shanghai. It is 36 degrees.

There were less queues on the Puxi site and again mostly Chinese visitors. Our first stop was the China State Shipbuilding Pavilion, mostly because it was big, there and not outside! It was surprisingly good and had an abundance of augmented reality interactive exhibits that allowed you control a wall-based mouse to control software on ships etc. You can check me out on Youtube literally missing the virtual boat! Obviously the main focus was celebrating the Chinese shipping industry – China need not worry about the Irish!

Laurynis Binderis demonstrates the augmented reality application at the Chinese State Shipbuilding Pavilion, World Expo 2010.

Laurynis Binderis demonstrates the augmented reality application at the Chinese State Shipbuilding Pavilion, World Expo 2010.

Our next stop was the Private Enterprises Joint Pavilion, where we got full VIP treatment including a tour from Meng Fu, the VIP Reception Manager to the Pavilion. The Pavilion is sponsored by eight Chinese companies from a variety of sectors including the Internet, filming, e-commerce, gaming, anime, mobile phones, household stuff, garments, amusement parks and attractions. Again much use was made of augmented reality and interactive elements throughout. At the end of the tour, we were given prime seats to 10-minute piece that combined music, computer-controlled synchronised balls and dance – it’s hard to explain in words but was amazing to experience. Nick Opris got some of it on video though and you can see it on youtube.  We had very little time before to get back to meet the rest of the group on the main site but decided the Information and Communication Pavilion was worth trying to get into. The queues were huge so we tried to blag our way in with VIP passes and nearly succeeded but got caught at the last line of defence – apparently we weren’t the scheduled group of Irish visitors – the Ernst and Young Entrepreneurs! Our failed attempt was fun in itself and kept us amused on the bus over to get some lunch before meeting the others at the Saudi Arabian pavilion.

DCU Business School Students and Dr. Theo Lynn pose outside the Chinese Private Enterprises Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

DCU Business School Students and Dr. Theo Lynn pose outside the Chinese Private Enterprises Pavilion at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

We decided to eat in one of the public Chinese restaurants, it was amazingly good value – €2-€3 for a meal, somewhat like a Chinese takeout in Ireland, and a soft drink. The downside was there was very little room to sit so everyone was dispersed around the very busy shared seating space. We ate up and left quickly.

DCU Business School Students wait in the 36 degree heat at the VIP entrance to the Saudi Pavilion, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

DCU Business School Students wait in the 36 degree heat at the VIP entrance to the Saudi Pavilion, World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

Wafa AlMuhamma, one of our Saudi e-commerce postgrads, organised for us to have VIP access to the Saudi Arabian pavilion. This was a real treat as it is ranked as one of the top pavilions at World Expo.As we waited for the rest of our team, we watched as thousands of people joined the 6-hour queue to get in to the pavilion – remember, that’s 8 hours in 36 degree heat and very high humidity!

The Saudi Pavilion at World Expo 2010 has a bedouin tent with real palm trees on its roof and a 1600m2 inverted screen inside.

The Saudi Pavilion at World Expo 2010 has a bedouin tent with real palm trees on its roof and a 1600m2 inverted screen inside.

So what’s all the fuss? The so-called ‘Moon Boat’ is obviously boat-like and points to Mecca. As well as a rooftop bedouin tent and palm trees, a double helix stairs and other exhibits, the x factor which makes this pavilion stand out is a 1600 square meter inverted screen that visitors pass through on a conveyor belt immersed in a film that visits various regions of Saudi Arabia. Nick tried to get it on video (see it on youtube) but to be honest it doesn’t do the experience justice. It is hard to describe – the room is pitchblack and the audio and film totally surrounds you giving a truly immersive experience, which at times is quite overwhelming. Bono needs check it out for the next tour!


In the Saudi Pavilion, you are surrounded by and travel by conveyor belt throughy a 1600 sq. metre inverted screen showing a film on Saudi Arabia. You are literally immersed in (and sometimes overwhelmed by) the film.

In the Saudi Pavilion, you are surrounded by and travel by conveyor belt throughy a 1600 sq. metre inverted screen showing a film on Saudi Arabia. You are literally immersed in (and sometimes overwhelmed by) the film.

If you knew nothing about Saudi after being in their pavilion, you would leave thinking three things – (1) they have a very old and established culture, (2) they are wealthy, and (3) they are extremely technologically advanced. Whether (3) is a specific goal or not, it has placed them very high on the hierarchy within World Expo and in the minds of visitors. If you can’t visit World Expo, the Saudi Expo website is worth checking out –http://www.saudiexpo2010.com/.

The USA Pavilion Rep was very excited to meet Irish people apparently and was even more excited when we gave her an Irish pin for her collection. Laurynis Binderis, Laureen Morrissette and Beatrice Metzler look on....

The USA Pavilion Rep was very excited to meet Irish people apparently and was even more excited when we gave her an Irish pin for her collection. Laurynis Binderis, Laureen Morrissette and Beatrice Metzler look on....

Having had our breath taken away, we re-entered the sunlight with our additional gifts from the Saudi pavilion – bags, cds and books and headed towards the USA pavilion, which Laureen Morrissette, one of our MBS in Marketing postgrads, organised VIP access for. The USA pavilion is very different than the others we have visited as it seemed to be primarily funded by industry. As well as some exhibits on the US, the pavilion comprised of three video auditoriums where we were presented with “three acts” showing different aspects of USA-China relations and in particulat ABCs – ‘American Born Chinese’. The final video was quite a nice and inspiring film about community greening – all the mommies and daddies out there will empathise! After this, you can walk around various sponsor exhibits. I quite liked this aspect. While many others skirted away from industry, the US didn’t and you left being exposed to some of the world’s greatest brands – Intel, Microsoft, Dell, GE and others. What is annoying is that the Irish pavilion could easily have left the same impression – after all, Intel, Microsoft, and Dell (well, they haven’t gone away you know!) all have significant operations in Ireland. The other thing I like about the USA pavilion is that their online site is pretty good and if you want to get some of the USA pavilion experience, they have a pretty good virtual tour and you can see each of the videos – http://pavilion.expo.cn/c5001/ssize/en/index.html – which is pretty engaging for all ages. Be warned – the music is very catchy! (You can see more of our USA Pavilion photos on this flickr set)

Beatrice Metzler, Joe Cullinan, Brian Connolly, Micheal O'Leary, Niamh NicClamha and Andrew Bonello enter Act I of the USA Pavilion to be greeted by the US good and great on screen while the US corporate sponsors are shown on background.

Beatrice Metzler, Joe Cullinan, Brian Connolly, Micheal O'Leary, Niamh NicClamha and Andrew Bonello enter Act I of the USA Pavilion to be greeted by the US good and great on screen while the US corporate sponsors are shown on background.

Ekaterina Zavershinskaya, one of our Russian MBS in Marketing postgrads, organised VIP access for us in the Russian pavilion. This was quite a jarring experience after the corporate tight controlled feel of the US pavilion. While the outside of the Russian pavilion is very, well, Russian, the interior  is ideal for kids because it was designed by them.

DCU Business School students walk through the fairytale world of the Russian Pavilion at World Expo, 2010.

DCU Business School students walk through the fairytale world of the Russian Pavilion at World Expo, 2010.

Featuring dayglo plants, spaceships and buildings the Russian designers have recreated a city from the perspective of a child’s imagination. Great for kids, not so sure about the rest of us, for me it was…immersive.

Dr. Theo Lynn being devoured by Russian dayglo flowers at Russian Pavilion, World Expo 2010.

Dr. Theo Lynn being devoured by Russian dayglo flowers at Russian Pavilion, World Expo 2010.

The big event for us was the German pavilion. Despite the valiant efforts of our two German marketing and e-commerce postgrads, Beatrice Metzler and Martin Hennig, getting VIP access to the German pavilion proved difficult. Like the Saudi pavilion, the German pavilion had huge queues of several hours however the Lithuanian’s came to the rescue and through various contacts got us a special tour with one of the interior designers/architects, Ansgar Halbfas.

The DCU Business School Shanghai 2010 Group outside the German Pavilion, Balancity, at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

The DCU Business School Shanghai 2010 Group outside the German Pavilion, Balancity, at World Expo 2010, Shanghai.

And so at 4pm, we headed over to the German pavilion where calamity struck! The air conditioning had failed and the pavilion was temporarily closed – cue dejected Chinese and Irish! It says a lot about Ansgar’s passion that he didn’t give up – equipping us with Sennheiser wireless headsets (designed in Germany, Made in China!) – Ansgar brought us on an exclusive tour of the exterior of the pavilion. This was really excellent – rarely do you get the architect’s view of design and it was very special to hear how they put together the pavilion and the changes they made as the pavilion evolved.

Ansgar Halbfas (Chiarc Sights) on the exterior balcony of the German Pavilion at World Expo, Balancity, giving the DCU Business School Shanghai 2010 group a tour and talk on the design of the German Pavilion using Sennheiser wireless earphones and mic.

Ansgar Halbfas on the exterior balcony of the German Pavilion at World Expo, Balancity, giving the DCU Business School Shanghai 2010 group a tour and talk on the design of the German Pavilion using Sennheiser wireless earphones and mic.

I note that the Germans also had their fair share of grass covering different parts of the pavilion and I note that wasn’t the only thing borrowed from the Irish pavilion. As the Irish pavilion was located opposite the German one, the German sign was lit by a large spotlight placed on the top of the Irish pavilion. Unfortunately after our exterior tour, the air conditioning hadn’t been fixed. Ansgar didn’t give up though and asked us back at 7pm – fingers crossed! (You can see more of our German Pavilion photos on this flickr set)

More photos on flickr. Day Six Part II to follow….
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