(Image: Daniele Mattioli)
This is a seed cathedral: a 20-metre-tall, £25 million shrine to botany and international diplomacy. It is the British government’s gift to the Shanghai World Expo, which opened in China.
When viewed from the outside, the building – designed by UK architect Thomas Heatherwick – bristles with 60,600 8-metre-long acrylic spikes, which sway when the wind blows. Inside, the tips of the rods display 6000 varieties of seed. During the day, sunlight passes through the tubes, illuminating the seeds inside. “Visitors pass through this tranquil, contemplative space, surrounded by the tens of thousands of points of light illuminating the seeds,” the team behind the pavilion say.
The seeds come from the Kunming Institute of Botany in China – a partner of the Millennium Seed Bank project at Kew Gardens, London.