The brilliant bristling structure you see above is not the world’s largest pincushion – it’s Thomas Heatherwick’s recently completed UK Pavilion at the 2010 Shanghai Expo. Dubbed the “Seed Cathedral”, the six-story high structure is studded with 60,000 translucent rods that act as fiber-optic filaments that channel sunlight into the pavilion’s interior. The densely-packed forest of filaments also contains the impetus to create living forests in the future — each 7.5 meter long “branch” contains seeds from the Millenium Seed Bank that will be given to China one the expo has run its course.
Nicknamed the “Dandelion”, Thomas Heatherwick’s UK Pavilion bristles with a dynamic facade that gently flexes and shimmers with each passing breeze. The beautiful building envelope blurs the boundaries between architecture and animated sculpture, while the area surrounding the pavilion features a network of pedestrian walkways and a landscaped park area.
Nestled within the sprouting facade of seeds is an otherworldly interior that unfolds like a shimmering network of stars. During the day the interior is completely lit by daylight channeled through the structure’s transparent rods. At night the interior is illuminated by minute lighting elements contained within each rod for an amazing effect.