Themed “Well-being, Competence and Environment”, the Finland Pavilion encourages an exchange of views and interaction among visitors by displaying advanced technologies and interactive activities.
“Like a good society or a better city, it is not some individual or particular parts, but rather the whole function and experience that makes the visit to the Finland Pavilion memorable,” said Mikko Puustinen, deputy commissioner-general of the Finland Pavilion.
Nicknamed “Kirnu”, or “giant’s kettle”, the pavilion rises from a surrounding lake. The architecture was inspired from Finnish nature and includes the shape of small rocks found on coastal islands, the figure of a fish, reflections on water and a framed view of the sky.
Along the pavilion’s structural wall, there are exhibitions of typical Finnish homes, displaying a better city model for everyone. The inner area of the exhibition space features huge screens with fantasy-like presentations.
The media wall, contributed by Finnish company Nokia, is one of the highlights of the exhibition. This digital wall gives visitors the opportunity to have their pictures taken. Then, the pictures are thrown onto many small screens and, in the end, turned into a bubble flying across the biggest screen in the exhibition hall.
“While in the pavilion, I felt like I was strolling in the nature, away from the busy city rhythm, indulged in moments of peace. The digital displays and art patterns brings high-technology closer to us,” said Du Yanping, a tourist from Henan province who was amazed by the digital interactive exhibits.
Visitors are constantly using the pavilion’s virtual guidebook.
“We can have our pictures taken against a chosen background in Helsinki and then send these pictures with a message to our email,” Du said.
The Stora Enso Sauna on the third floor of the pavilion is yet another typical Finnish attraction but, unfortunately, is only open to VIP guests. Stora Enso, a major paper and forestry industry company from Finland, entertains guests in a sauna made from Finnish timber and combining both the traditional and innovative aspects to this important part of Finnish culture.
“We’re trying to come up with ways for tourists to visit the sauna. We’ll probably have a lucky draw,” said Puustinen.
One of the most impressive objects of the exhibition is something that most visitors don’t consider as part of the exhibit. The Kone Lantern elevator is designed to replicate a Chinese lantern but with a Finnish twist. It is not only a stylish part of the pavilion but also works to transport VIP guests to the top floor of the pavilion.
“It is something unique and ahead of its time in terms of both technology and design, and shows the future direction in the construction and elevator industry,” said Puustinen.
Sustainability has been recognized as the essential element for development of a country. Most pavilions in the Expo Garden have applied environmentally friendly materials and concepts to maintain sustainability, including the Finland Pavilion.
“The whole Finland Pavilion is recyclable and it can be taken apart, moved and then put together again. Our starting point was that erecting such a big building just for six months is not sustainable,” Puustinen said.
He said the organizers would find a permanent home for the pavilion after the Expo, possibly in China.