Urbanian Pavilion

Lead Designer
Prize(s)1st Place in Interior Design / Other
Entry Description

The ‘Urbanian Pavilion’ is one of the five large Chinese pavilions made for the World Expo Shanghai 2010. The pavilion focuses on the theme ‘Urban Population’ and the quality of life in the city. Half of the world’s population currently lives in cities. By 2050, this percentage is expected to have increased to 75%.
In the ‘Urbanian Pavilion’ six families from six different cities from all six continents are followed and compared in their search for happiness. The pavilion highlights the most important themes that influence the quality of life in a city: a healthy and safe environment, ample and satisfying work, good education possibilities and a rich social network. The exhibition also shows why the city, with its diversity and possibilities, is so attractive for so many people.
During a 45-minute ‘urban walk’ through a theatrically designed, immense and monumental metropolis visitors pass through five different sub-pavilions. The five pavilions HOME, WORK, CONNECTED, LEARN and HEALTH, all have specific multimedia design and each present an important aspect of life in a large city. Videos of the 6 families can be seen on synchronized multiscreen projections. Statistical facts and personal stories each complement each other. By combining real family (micro-) stories with macro-statistics illustrating the important quality of life themes it is easier for visitors to become aware of the theme of urbanization at the macro level. The choices you make as an individual fit into a global phenomenon of urbanization. By telling several stories simultaneously we create a situation in which visitors can draw comparisons and can have free associations for themselves.
The themed sub pavilions each differ in scale and atmosphere through the use of synchronized multi-screen projections, light, sound and odor. To stimulate the visitor’s imagination the city is not represented literally, but composed of ‘as found’ objects. Plastic crates form the large skyscrapers of the ‘residential area’; thousands of milk cartons together form the organized suburbs. Empty paint cans become the impressive wall of a huge factory and stacks of office furniture turn into a huge concrete office building. Cardboard boxes suggest a skyline. During the walk through the pavilion the visitor can experience this ‘city’ in many different ways. Each turn offers new vistas and perspectives. Changes of light and sound show the city during the day, evening and at night.
A lot of senses are addressed through the balanced mix of space, collections, images, text, light, photography, film, sound, new media and interaction. The visitor is immersed in an experience full of content and impact that provokes new ideas and so he becomes part of the narrative. In the pavilion visitors physically meet each other and can share life, comments and most important: collective experiences.
The ‘Urbanian Pavilion’ was one of the largest exhibitions at the World Expo 2010, with a total floor area of 15,000 m2 and a ceiling height of 22 meters. In total 6 million people visited the pavilion.


Kossmann.dejong, exhibition architects, is an Amster¬dam-based multimedia design studio specializing in exhibition and interior design. The agency was founded in 1998 by Herman Kossmann (1958) and Mark de Jong (1960), both graduated in architecture at the Technical University in Delft. Kossmann.dejong has grown into an agency with over 20 employees. Alongside temporary and permanent museum interiors, the studio also designs interiors for visitors’ centers, clubs, hotels and large-scale events. The subjects of their exhibitions range from architecture, history of psychiatry and children’s books, art for teenagers and micro-organisms.

Kossmann.dejong is currently working on the new Maritime Museum in Helsingør (Denmark), the Historisches Museum Frankfurt (Germany), MicroZoo for Artis (the Netherlands) and the Maritime and Beachcombers Museum Texel (the Netherlands). The most recent projects the permanent exhibi¬tion ‘Laurens Church, a monument full of stories’ in the Laurenschurch in Rotterdam and a multimedia story about the UNESCO World Heritage Canal area in Amsterdam for Het Grachtenhuis.

The studio has won many national and international awards including a red dot design award 2011, three Dutch Design Awards, the IDEA Gold 2009 & IDEA Silver 2011 – the International Design Excellence Awards, a Gold and Bronze ID Award 2010, the I.D. Magazine Annual Design Review 2009, the FX Awards London 2009 and a D&AD Award 2008.

In 2010 Kossmann.dejong, in cooperation with Frame Publishers, has published ‘Engaging Spaces, a valuable and timeless sourcebook for everyone interested in the field of exhibition design.

Awards and Prize