Kew's Millennium Seed Bank at Shanghai Expo 2010
Press release, 30 June 2009
Kew 's Millennium Seed Bank will provide the central theme for the UK Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010. Developed by one of the UK 's leading creative talents, Thomas Heatherwick, the UK Pavilion's design incorporates thousands of seeds representing the world's biodiversity.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office leads the UK's participation in Shanghai Expo 2010, which provides a key opportunity to enhance UK-China partnership through arts, education, culture, business, science and environmental and conservation issues such as climate change.
Heatherwick's UK Pavilion will provide a dramatic demonstration of creativity and innovation in the UK and follows the theme of 'nature in cities'. The theme of the Shanghai Expo 2010 is 'Better City, Better Life'.
The centrepiece of the UK 's offering is the extraordinary pavilion building - a six-storey high object formed from some 60,000 slender transparent rods, which will extend from the structure and quiver in the breeze. During the day, each of these 7.5 metre rods will act like fibre optic filaments, drawing on daylight to illuminate the interior, thereby creating a contemplative awe-inspiring space. At night, light sources at the interior end of each rod will allow the whole structure to glow. The pavilion will sit on a landscape looking like paper that once wrapped the building and that now lies unfolded on the site. The landscape provides an open space for public events and shelter for visitors making their way into the pavilion structure.
Inside the pavilion building is a unique visual representation of the UK 's leading role in conservation worldwide - Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership. Managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew and working in partnership in over 50 countries around the world, Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership is one of the most ambitious and successful conservation programmes in the world and will have banked 10% of the world's wild plant species by 2010 with ambitions to conserve 25% by 2020.
Tens of thousands of seeds will be encased into the ends of the transparent rods giving visitors an opportunity to view examples of seeds of plant species that contribute to national and global conservation programmes . The seeds have been sourced from the Germplasm Bank of Wild Species, Kunming Institute of Botany, The Chinese Academy of Sciences in China - a collaborator in Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership. The seeds being used are taken from stocks that are both plentiful and readily available. They will create a stunning image of an alternative World Bank, into which is embedded the potential of life.
Visitors will access the 'Seed Cathedral' by a series of walkways, the content of which will depict a story of the role of nature in UK cities in the past, present and in the future.
This design is already coming to life. Construction was formally started in March on China's annual national tree planting day; the UK being one of the first self-build countries to start work on site. Heatherwick Studio is acting in partnership with Mace, the consultancy and construction company, to build the structure.
Thomas Heatherwick , articulating his vision for the Pavilion, said:
"The Expo in Shanghai will be an amazing event; around two hundred countries competing for the attention of seventy million visitors. Our task is to make the UK pavilion stand out. We decided to do this by making one extraordinary object; not recognisable in conventional terms, set in a calm open site. Each visitor will be able to explore both in their own way. Rather than making a straightforward advert for the UK , we want our pavilion to give each person a more profound understanding of the richness of contemporary UK culture."
Commenting on the importance of the UK 's presence at the Expo, Mr Ian McCartney, MP and Commissioner General for the UK Shanghai Expo, said:
"Thomas Heatherwick's pavilion structure offers a bold vision of creativity and design in the UK in the 21st Century. We see it as a gift of friendship to the people of China - coming in the shape of a just-unwrapped package, with an intriguing structure at one corner, waiting to be explored. We want it to offer an engaging, memorable experience that inspires both the visitors and the Chinese public at large to learn more about the UK and its diverse wealth of opportunities - across culture, education, trade and two-way investment and beyond."
"In addition, one of our key objectives for Shanghai Expo 2010 is to showcase the UK 's skills and expertise in those creative industries, which have their origin in individual creativity, skill and talent. It is wholly appropriate, therefore, that Thomas 's vision is leading us in promoting the UK 's expertise in the creative industries sector."
Paul Smith, Head of Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership, added:
"This is a very exciting project and we are delighted to be involved in conveying the importance of biodiversity and conservation through the inclusion of seeds in this iconic structure. Kew's Millennium Seed Bank partnership is a unique project managed by the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew , which by the end of 2009, will have collected and conserved seeds from 10% of the world's wild plant species. Kew's Millennium Seed Bank is the largest seed bank in the world and its purpose is to enable the use of as wide a range of plant diversity as possible in order to enable human adaptation, innovation and resilience in the face of climate change and other environmental challenges."
Taking place alongside the Expo experience, an extensive series of events for both a business and general audience covering arts, education, science and climate change will take place over the six months from May to October a) at the Expo itself both in the public landscape area and the meetings suite, b) in Shanghai and c) around other key major cities throughout China. Each event will exploit the interest and excitement generated by the Heatherwick-designed pavilion to deliver stories from the UK to develop existing bi-lateral partnerships and create new ones.
The programmes, together with the UK Expo website, are expected to reach millions of people over the Expo period - even more than the tens of thousands a day that are expected to visit the UK pavilion. Visitors throughout China and internationally will be able to make a virtual visit to the UK pavilion to access information on the UK and participate in an enormous range of activities and projects on the Expo Bureau's own Online website.
The five founding corporate sponsors of UK Shanghai Expo are Astra Zeneca, Barclays, BP, Diageo and GKN. The public sector founding sponsors, led by the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, are The British Council, UK Trade and Investment, the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills the Department for Communities and Local Government, the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and The English Regional Development Agencies.
- RBG Kew Press Office, 020 8332 5607, firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rachel Barbour: Shanghai Expo 2010: Foreign and Commonwealth Office: 020 7389 4487. Rachel_barbour@britishcouncil.org . FCO press office: 020 7008 3100. www.fco.gov.uk/news
- Images are available to download at www.kew.org/press/images. Please contact the RBG Kew Press Office for username and password
Notes to Editors
Around 191 countries and some 48 international organisations will participate in the World Expo in Shanghai , which will run from 1 May - 31 October 2010 . An important event two years on from the Olympics in Beijing in 2008, it is estimated that over 70 million people will visit the Expo over the 6 months that it is open. The Expo Park will occupy 5.3 square kilometres of land on the Pu Dong area of the city, on the south side of the Huangpu River and it will be the largest World Expo that has ever been staged. The theme for the Expo is Better City , Better Life . It will explore the full potential of urban life in the 21st century, a significant period in urban evolution. By 2010, 55% percent of the world's population is expected to live in cities. The prospect of future urban life concerns all nations, developed or less developed and their people. The Expo will explore eco-friendly and sustainable approaches to human habitat, lifestyle and working conditions in the new century.
Expo and the UK
The first Expo, the Great Exhibition of Industries of All Nations, was held in London in 1851. Since then the World Expos have attained prominence as high profile international events for economic, scientific, technological, educational and cultural exchanges, serving as important platforms for displaying historical experience, exchanging innovative ideas, demonstrating esprit de corps and looking to the future. Modern day expos are managed by the Bureau International des Expositions organisation based in Paris . In 2007, leading British architecture and design practices were invited to propose a design for the Pavilion. The brief stated that the Pavilion had to be extraordinary - an iconic structure that offered a bold vision of the UK in the 21 st Century as a creative, innovative and exciting country.
Thomas Heatherwick is one of the UK 's leading creative talents. Since establishing his studio in 1994 Heatherwick and his colleagues have refused to be categorised within traditional boundaries and their work extends across art, architecture, product design and beyond. Today, a highly talented team of architects, designers and makers operate from a studio and workshop in King's Cross, London - a unique environment where project management and implementation take place in parallel with experimentation with ideas, materials and manufacturing processes. Completed projects include the RIBA National award-winning East Beach Café; Longchamp's La Maison Unique flagship store in New York and the internationally renowned Rolling Bridge in London . In addition to the UK Pavilion for the Shanghai Expo, Heatherwick Studio is currently working on a major redevelopment of Pacific Place (one of Hong Kong 's most established and well respected shopping malls) and is working with a dynamic community of monks on the design for a new monastery.
Structural and civil engineers: Adams Kara Taylor
Adams Kara Taylor is a progressive design led firm of Structural and Civil Engineering Consultants. The experience within the Practice is extensive, covering the commercial, residential, retail, leisure, educational, health and transportation sectors of the market. Our projects our based throughout the UK and other parts of the world, with contract values ranging from £100,000 to over £150 million. Adams Kara Taylor is part of the WYG Group.
Environmental and building service engineers: Atelier Ten
Atelier Ten are building services engineers and environmental design consultants
committed to the application of low-energy and sustainable design within the built environment. Founded in 1990, Atelier Ten deliver build solutions based on the cornerstones of sustainability, environmental integrity and economic viability. Significantly, Atelier Ten take a wider role in the design process than traditional Building Services Engineers and work with the design team to integrate environmental moderation and control into the fabric of the building as well as providing efficient and well-integrated building services systems.
Mace Group provides the full range of consultancy and construction services to clients in the UK and overseas. The company's reputation and project portfolio reads like a roll call of iconic achievements; the BA London Eye, the London Bridge Shard, Terminal 5 at Heathrow, the GLA building. As one third of the CLM Delivery Partner, the consortium delivering London 2012, Mace is also working for a great sporting future for the city with regeneration projects that will improve east London for years to come.
Royal Botanic Gardens , Kew
The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a world famous scientific organisation, internationally respected for its outstanding living collection of plants and world-class Herbarium as well as its scientific expertise in plant diversity, conservation and sustainable development in the UK and around the world. Kew Gardens is a major international visitor attraction. Its landscaped 132 hectares and RBG Kew's country estate, Wakehurst Place , attract nearly 2 million visitors every year. Kew was made a UNESCO World Heritage Site in July 2003 and celebrates its 250 th anniversary in 2009. Wakehurst Place is home to Kew 's Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild plant seed bank in the world. By 2010, RBG Kew and its partners will have collected and conserved seed from 10 per cent of the world's wild flowering plant species (c.30, 000 species). The aim is to conserve 25% by 2020 and funds are being actively sought in order to continue this vital work.
Plants as a source of medicine
- 75% of the world's population relies on traditional medicines
- 5,000 plant species are used in Traditional Chinese Medicine
- Ginkgo biloba is a Chinese medicine that has been used for centuries. It is being investigated for its potential to treat dementia and cardiovascular disease.
- Rosy periwinkle: Compounds discovered in this popular ornamental plant have been used to treat children with leukaemia or lymphoma. Only 30% would have survived without vinblastine and vincristine from rosy periwinkle; now 80% can be expected to survive.
Plants as a source of fibre
- The international cotton trade is estimated to be worth $12 billion
- China produces 35.8 million bales (2008/09)
Plants as a source of oil
- Castor oil has many uses in industry as an industrial lubricant and in adhesives, dyes, hydraulic fluids; food and cosmetics and in medicine (for example as a laxative).
Public Sector Founding Sponsors
Foreign and Commonwealth Office
The UK 's security and prosperity depends on the Foreign & Commonwealth Office work with other nations - ranging from key issues such as climate change to health pandemics. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office's global network of staff, embassies and offices around the world serves all of UK Government. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office focuses on 4 policy goals: countering terrorism and weapons proliferation, and their causes; preventing and resolving conflict; promoting a low carbon, high growth, global economy and developing effective international institutions, especially the UN and EU.
UK Trade and Investment
UK Trade & Investment is the UK Government's international business development organisation, supporting businesses seeking to establish in the UK and helping UK companies grow internationally. The services offered by UK Trade & Investment bring together a network of business sector specialists and support teams across England and in British diplomatic posts in some 100 markets all around the world. UK Trade & Investment works with a wide range of partner organisations in the UK , including other Government departments, Regional Development Agencies and the Devolved Administrations, Business Links, Chambers of Commerce and trade associations.
Celebrating 75 years in 2009, the British Council is the UK 's international organisation for educational opportunities and cultural relations. It works in over 100 countries worldwide to build engagement and trust for the UK through the exchange of knowledge and ideas between people. It works in the arts, education, science, sport and governance and last year reached over 128 million people. The British Council is a non-political organisation, which operates at arm's length from government. Total income in 2007/8 was £565 million, of which the grant-in-aid from the British government was £197 million.
Department of Business, Innovation and Skills
The Department for Business Innovation and Skills will promote open and competitive markets, proportionate regulation, an enterprise and innovation culture, skilled people, thriving universities, life-long learning and world-class science, technology and research.
Department of Communities and Local Government
Communities and Local Government is responsible for policy on local government, housing, urban regeneration, planning, fire and rescue, and race equality and community cohesion issues in England . It seeks to create thriving, sustainable, vibrant communities that improve everyone's quality of life. As the lead government department on cities and urban policy it sees the Shanghai Expo as a unique opportunity to support efforts by UK cities and regions to tap into the continuing growth of China, and other emerging economies, to benefit local economies. It plans to showcase the achievements of UK cities in urban regeneration and housing renewal, and their role in building stronger business and trade links with cities in China, through a major summit, workshops and other Expo events.
Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs
Defra is the UK government department responsible for the environment, for food and farming and for rural affairs. It works to secure a healthy environment in which future generations can prosper. Defra supports the building of a low carbon, resource efficient economy. The department helps people to adapt to a changing climate, deals with environmental risks and makes the most of the opportunity it now has to secure a sustainable society and a healthy environment and to ensure a thriving farming sector and a sustainable, healthy and secure food supply. This will help through the difficult economic times, volatile food and energy prices and a changing climate which all makes everyone more aware that the environment cannot be taken for granted.
England's Regional Development Agencies
The Regional Development Agencies are business-led organisations set up by Government in 1999 to promote sustainable economic development in England . They work with key public and private sector regional partners to increase the economic performance of the regions and reduce social and economic disparities within and between regions. Ten years on, independent evaluation shows the RDAs have a) Had a significant impact on the English economy, b) Generated economic benefits that substantially outweigh their overall costs, c) Put back an average of £4.50 of economic output (or GVA ) into the regional economies for every £1 spent, and d) Produced over £23 billion in economic benefits per year during the past five years alone and e) have had a wider impact on people, places and businesses across the country that cannot be captured by figures alone.
Private Sector Founding Sponsors
AstraZeneca is a major international healthcare business engaged in the research, development, manufacturing and marketing of meaningful prescription medicines and supplier for healthcare services. AstraZeneca is one of the world's leading pharmaceutical companies with healthcare sales of US$ 31.6 billion and is a leader in gastrointestinal, cardiovascular, neuroscience, respiratory, oncology and infectious disease medicines.
Barclays is a major global financial services provider engaged in retail and commercial banking, credit cards, investment banking, wealth management and investment management services with an extensive international presence in Europe , the United States , Africa and Asia . With over 300 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 50 countries and employs over 150,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for over 47 million customers and clients worldwide.
BP is one of the world's largest oil and gas companies, serving millions of customers every day in more than 100 countries across six continents. BP's activities are Exploration and Production; Refining and Marketing; and Alternative Energy, its low-carbon and no-carbon energy business, and employs almost 100,000 people worldwide. Through these business, BP provides fuel for transportation; energy for heat and light; retail services; and petrochemicals products for textiles and packaging.
Diageo is the world's leading premium drinks business with an outstanding collection of beverage alcohol brands across spirits, wines, and beer categories. These brands include Johnnie Walker, Guinness, Smirnoff, J&B, Baileys, Cuervo, Tanqueray, Captain Morgan, Crown Royal, Beaulieu Vineyard and Sterling Vineyards wines. Diageo is a global company, trading in more than 180 countries around the world. The company is listed on both the New York Stock Exchange ( DEO ) and the London Stock Exchange (DGE).
GKN technology and engineering is at the heart of the vehicles and aircraft produced by the world's leading automotive, off highway and aerospace manufacturers. From its origins in the valleys of South Wales 250 years ago, GKN now employs nearly 40,000 people in over 30 countries. Operating on a truly global basis, GKN aims to provide exceptional levels of service to its customers wherever they may be.
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