Concept and key elements
Brexit is the topic on everybody’s lips, placing Great Britain on the spotlight and raising up questions of what the future will hold, not only for the United Kingdom, but also for the entire Europe. This has inspired the concept of an ‘endless journey’ for this year’s national pavilion of Great Britain to bring to people’s attention that even though the United Kingdom may create borders, it will still be open towards anyone through art, literature and cultural interaction. A strong vertical core was envisioned to represent Great Britain. The core can be seen as an island, the reading platform dedicated both for children and adults, but also the flow of people that go around the core, representing the water that surrounds the island.
Great Britain comes across as a strong player, being characterized by great stability. The vertical core reflects this aspect and the see-through white cloths which surrounds it convey its transparency and openness towards the exterior.
Various key elements of Great Britain were identified and translated into the design. The red telephone box, the red post box, the red double-deckers and the Royal Uniform are instantly recognizable symbols of Britain. Thus, red has been used as a color accent for some elements within the stand. In addition, one of the most famous landmarks, the giant bell Big Ben sitting on the Elizabeth Tower, is suggested to the visitor with the vertical element that has four clocks on each of its sides. The four clocks also support the idea of an endless story of this great kingdom along with its arts and cultural conduct. British terraced houses represent one of the elements specific to Great Britain, being encountered throughout the whole country and bring a more welcoming environment. They are represented into the design through minimalist structures onto two of the surrounding ‘walls’ where they frame interactive walls and individual reading spaces. Whilst the custom of drinking the afternoon tea was introduced in England not earlier than the 19th century, it represents one essential British tradition that translates into the design through a wall-mounted installation of recycled tea cups. Coziness is what characterizes the British homes, especially the cottages situated in the countryside. The proposed stand incorporates some of the décor elements that impart this quality are: shelves of books and cozy reading nooks, plush pillows in intricate patterns, warm light coming from classic fabric lamp shades and floral upholstery. Britain’s egalitarian manner is already a strong reality and it was a solid aspect to be reflected in the design. This was achieved by placing the speaker’s stage to the same level as the public seating’s height, so that the presenter sits at the same level with the attenders. Moreover, the two sitting zones for children and adults were physically connected, mixing the two different age groups emphasizing the tolerance towards each other.
The proposal intends to allow various interactions between different types of users, and it aims to bring together diverse age groups, personalities and cultures. The zones are not separated in any way, thus it allows open interaction and functional continuity. On the other hand, the different personalities of users are respected as the stand allows people to use the space in their way when it comes to reading habits and comfort. The space offers public reading areas, where different users sit together. Moreover, it creates individual reading spots such as the ones offered by the row houses and the semi-circular comfortable seating area.
The provided zones are having flexible functions according to the taking place event. The central elevated zone becomes a stage during debates and book presentations, while attending people can have a seat on the platform opposite the stage. Meanwhile, during the rest of the time, both are used as reading places for groups and individuals. Children can read, color or play in their dedicated zone and, what is more, the zone can host children dedicated events such as storytelling and creative writing sessions or screen presentations. The book selling zone is integrated throughout the stand and blends in with the other functions. The design style used for the cash point was replicated for the info point highlighting the two places where customers can get advice or help.
Most of the furniture pieces and design elements are made from recycled elements which could be collected from schools, offices, restaurants and recycling points.