Bits of Expo buildings to go under hammer

09:07, August 20, 2010      

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A cluster of European pavilions are negotiating with a Chinese media group to recycle parts of their structures and exhibitions to raise funds for charity in the final month of the Expo 2010 Shanghai.

China Business Network, the business arm of Shanghai Media Group, is looking for partners to supply materials for its "Expo Auction Hall" program, which will air on Oct 10. The point of the project is to comply with the Expo 2010 Shanghai motto of "Better City, Better Life" by making better use of the resources around us, which in this case refers to the hundreds of national pavilions in the Expo Garden.

In line with World Expo rules, the pavilions must be torn down on Oct 31, or possibly relocated to other parts of China, despite their donors having forked out millions of dollars to pay for their construction and running costs. Spain has already spent around $80 million, for example, the US and Australia between $60-70 million each, and Saudi Arabia over $150 million.

"We'd like to recycle the materials and the exhibits, and donate the proceeds to charities and various environmentally friendly projects," said CBN staff Tong Xin. "We're seeking partners for our program. We have targeted most of the pavilions, but so far we have confirmed Denmark, Spain, Italy, Belgium and the London Case Pavilion (in the Urban Best Practices Area in Puxi)."

Denmark is planning to hand three of its popular Copenhagen city bikes over to the show this weekend. Visitors to its sloping white pavilion can rent them for free to tour its exhibition, which includes the country's most iconic landmark, the statue of The Little Mermaid, temporarily transplanted from Copenhagen harbor. The Danish Embassy in Beijing has also purchased some of the bikes for a promotion it will run later this year.

"We heard that CBN may be getting some designers to take the bikes apart and redesign them in some way for the auction to make it more interesting," said Lene Winthers, the pavilion's head of press.

Spain, which has 8,542 wicker plates framing its huge pavilion, will be donating some of them "if the sum is high enough", said a spokesperson, surnamed Xi.

Italy is mulling handing over some of the "transparent concrete blocks" that coat its exterior, said pavilion spokesperson Marianna Drago. This new building material made its global debut at the Shanghai Expo.

However, the real star of the auction may prove to be diamonds from the Belgium-EU pavilion, which has an exhibit featuring a diamond-encrusted golden tennis racket and other famous pieces worth a total of 20 million yuan ($2.95 million). Some of these may be donated for the auction, said the exhibit's general manager, Ben Lao.

He said the pavilion is also considering hosting its own celebrity-studded diamond gallery auction in the second or third week of October to raise funds for charity.

"The Expo's theme is 'Better City, Better Life', but we also need to remember all of the people who live within the city, or society, and do all we can to help improve their quality of life," he said.

As such, the Belgian side of the pavilion is sending most of the proceeds it rakes in from its daily lucky draws to the Chinese Red Cross, Lao said.

Callers are charged 1 yuan per text message as they dial in to try and win one of three daily prizes of jewelry worth up to 4,999 yuan apiece.

Lao said they have received up to 150,000 calls or text messages over the course of the last three months.

Source: China Daily


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