Naço Architectures has completed the 2000 m2 pavilion for the principality of Monaco at the Shanghai 2010 world fair. Present in Shanghai since 2005, as one of the few French offices firmly implanted in China Naço was duty bound to produce a high profile piece for the event. Over 70 million people are expected to visit the fair laid out along both banks of the Huangpu, which will run from 1st May to 31st October, celebrating the theme ‘Better city, better life’ and saluting 25 years of unprecedented growth for Shanghai.

Naço has come up with an image-building that perfectly expresses the identity of the client and also tokens the global approach to architectural design adopted by Marcelo Joulia, founder of Naço, which walks a line between hard constructions and soft media creations conceived as accelerators for encounters in urban space. Naço has captured the essence of Monaco: ‘a rock surrounded by the dancing light of a perfect sea’. So the result is a hunk of the Monegasque coast that projects the ceaseless ripples of the Mediterranean, literally transposed onto a 12 m-high vertical envelope in Pudong!

Visually apt, and as poetic as it is direct, the 3D digital morphing of a Mediterranean inlet displays dancing pixels that owe nothing to optical illusion. The system relies on a network of feeder pipes that are constantly topping up real miniature sea pools hidden behind the façade, and whose constant pattern-changes are reflected onto the glass envelope to light up the pavilion. As soon as the sun goes down, artificial lighting takes over. Sunlight is used as an architectural device that ensures flow, and the logic is pushed to its end term because the building is also solar-powered.

With this project Naço is making a strong return into the area of emblematic projects, even if it represents only a small part of their overall activity. Resolutely international, with offices on three continents, in Paris, Shanghai and Buenos Aires, today Naço is one of the only French practices capable of simultaneously designing and building a multiplex cinema in Lyons, a polo club in Argentina and a private house in China. Proof that the economic slow-down is a question of viewpoint and – even more – of adapted response.

Monaco Pavilion by Naço Architectures

Shanghai 2010

1st May to 31st October 2010

Photos crédit : VFILLON