The Pavilion of São Paulo at World Expo 2010

Project signed by Daniela Thomas and Felipe Tassara

Everything becomes larger when speaking of Sao Paulo. The largest metropolis of South America has more than 11 million inhabitants. With 1.530 square kilometers in extension, the heart of the Brazilian economy receives an average of 10 million visitors per year and concentrates the largest Japanese community outside Japan, the largest Italian community outside Italy and the largest number of Lebanese outside Lebanon. A global city, Sao Paulo is avant-garde in Latin America and gains increasing international significance, not only in the economic, commercial and technological fields, but in political and strategic as well. These cultural diversity and cosmopolitanism aspects of Sao Paulo are to be presented in the largest and most expected World Expo, which btake place from May 1st until October 31st of 2010, in Shanghai, China.

The pavilion of Sao Paulo at Expo Shanghai 2010 presents this multi-faceted culture, as well as the plurality and transformation of this metropolis since the implementation of the Clean City Act, which is responsible for the choice of Sao Paulo to rank fourth among the 55 cities selected to participate in this event. Located at the Urban Best Practices Area (UBPA), the pavilion, with the coordination of the Municipal Secretariat of International Relations (SMRI), also host debates, business roundtables, workshops and events, along with exhibitions of films and documentaries. The goal is to present the city, its dimension and importance to the national and international scenario.

Project - Pavilion of Sao Paulo

The project signed by designers Daniela Thomas and Felipe Tassara represents through the contour lines of the emblematic building Copan the transformation of the metropolis, before and after the Clean City Act. ‘Copan is a remarkable symbol of the city. Besides, it passes on the idea of movement and Sao Paulo is a city in constant transformation’, says Thomas. For Tassara, this work has very peculiar issues. ‘Sao Paulo is huge and carries all the problems of any city with that size. However the city that never stops thinking about its own future and how to improve itself. And that is what we are trying to express in this pavilion’, he says.


Divided into five areas, the pavilion of Sao Paulo is a special experience for the visitor, explains Thomas. ‘As there is a tendency to the excessive use of led lights, videos and projection, we tried to provide the visitors with something in which they could participate and move; it means that we want the visitor to use his/her own body to understand how the Clean City Act promoted the transformation of Sao Paulo’s outlook’. The visitors go through a sensory experience in which they realize the change in Sao Paulo’s overview. The idea is to see the impact of the urban alterations triggered by the enforcement of the new legislation.

Right at the entrance, in an area called Skyline, it is possible to visualize the huge number of buildings of the largest cities in South America. When entering, the first impression is the dimension of the megalopolis, with its countless buildings as well as its enormous proportions.

In the following section, at the ‘Street Signs’ room, thousands of images and loud noises provide the audience with the sensation of how the city used to be before the Act. The intention is to show how street signs, billboards, light signs, posters and logos gradually modified the city’s visual aspect. The purpose is to reproduce the feeling of living in a visual and noisy polluted environment. Sliding signs around the room show the same building façade with and without visual pollution and demonstrate the difference at an aesthetic and sensorial point of view.

The visit continues at the ‘Before and After’ room, where the visitors immediately experience the city’s amplitude by the room’s height. According to Thomas, the photos, images, texts and prints shown in this room synthesize the metropolis before and after the new legislation. The lenticular printing technique was used to visualize alternated sections of multiple images simultaneously, allowing a 3-D or movement sensation. Also in this room, three ‘magic flashlights’ booths will allow the visitor to see locations in Sao Paulo with and without visual pollution.

The speed of Sao Paulo’s transformation is better understood at the ‘Sao Paulo No Logo’ photo exhibition, by Tony de Marco. His lenses captured spaces and billboard frames after the implementation of the Clean City Act. The result represents the beginning of a new cycle with significant changes at the great Brazilian metropolis’ life. But Sao Paulo is not only about the Clean City Act. The project’s goal is to show the city’s cosmopolitan, multicultural and multiracial aspects. ‘The megalopolis is constantly rethinking itself. The city grows but has never been abandoned. There is always someone thinking on how to improve the quality of life in it’, emphasizes Thomas.


This multiplicity is presented at the ‘Welcome to Sao Paulo’ section. The images show diversity, architecture, arts, fauna, flora and multicultural aspects so that the world gets to know the largest city in Brazil. Besides, various screens play parts of ‘Welcome to Sao Paulo’ documentary, produced by several directors including Leon Cakoff, Renata Almeida and Daniela Thomas. Also at this site, a lens simulates a live tour from Shanghai to Sao Paulo. The intention is to make the visitor realize Sao Paulo’s geographic location in the world, the distance between the two cities and the sensation of two different locations working simultaneously.

Daniela Thomas, who has dozens of awarded works, says that projecting pavilion of Sao Paulo at the first global exposition to give space for the cities is a unique opportunity. ‘It is an honor to participate in Sao Paulo’s project at Expo Shanghai’, says Thomas. According to Felipe Tassara, this work has singular features. ‘This is undoubtedly a great challenge showing to the world the mega city of Sao Paulo, which is also my hometown’, defines Tassara. With approximately 400 square meters, the pavilion also counts with a mezzanine, where screens organized side by side display videos about Sao Paulo. There is also be a special space dedicated for meetings, audiences and presentations. Furthermore, Sao Paulo promotes activities in specific areas at Expo Shanghai designated by the event’s organizers.


A little about Sao Paulo is presented during the six months of the exposition. The programme includes cultural events, as well as the exhibition of several films and documentaries, among other attractions. There are lectures about different subjects, presentations of important projects in the city, such as the revitalization of slums. The public will also be able to understand the process of modernization and improvement of the infrastructure of the largest city in the Southern Hemisphere, in order to attract new investments and promote development. The city also presents actions taken to promote urban, social and sustainable development, as well as the initiatives taken by the City Hall regarding environmental preservation and the tackling climate change. Sao Paulo participates in a series of international case studies, along with the other participating cities. The idea is to give, during the six months of the exposition the chance to get to know and discuss projects, actions and the latest news and tendencies to improve the quality of life in the urban conglomerates, in the context of the main theme of the event, ‘Better City, Better Life’.

Expo Shanghai 2010

Expo Shanghai, to be held from May 1st until October 31st of 2010, is considered the largest international event organized by China in the first decade of the 21st century, after the Olympic Games held in Beijing. Under the theme ‘Better City, Better Life, the most expected World Expo is the stage for the presentation of technological advances, cultural exchange, promotion of development and the deepening of commercial relations and bonds among countries, cities and institutions. Also, there is a stragic forum for discussions, projects of public and private initiatives to guide politics and strategies that promote sustainable development and improvement of the quality of life.

Along with the chosen theme, the event seeks to draw the attention of the world to the need to promote quality of life in the urban centers. Data from the United Nations estimate that 55% of the inhabitants will be living in urban areas by 2010. In 1800, only 2% lived in cities. In 1950, this index has increased to 29%, reaching almost 50% in 2000. The city of Sao Paulo plans to be, more and more present in events that seek to debate and present projects, as well as solutions to the major global issues, such as climate change and new models of sustainable development.

The Chinese city was selected to host the event in December, 2002, during the 123rd Convention of the Bureau of International Expositions BIE), based in Paris. Expo Shanghai 2010 is the first edition to be held in an emerging country and is expected to be the largest universal exposition of all times, with a record number of participants and visitors. Among the expected attractions, there are 20,000 cultural demonstrations, forums, debates and thematic events. The activities are divided into six categories:
• Information Technology and Urban Development
• Cultural Heritage and Urban Reconstruction
• Scientific and Technological Innovation and Urban Future
• Urban Responsibilities and Environmental Changes
• Economic Transformations and Urban-Rural Relations
• City of Harmony and Life

With 5.28 square kilometers, the exposition will occupy a large space in both margins of the Huangpu River. It is a total of 12 groups of countries and thematic pavilions, eight of them in the Pudong side and four in the Puxi side, spread throughout five zones. It is expected around 100 activities per day and approximately, 20,000 events during the whole time of the Exposition. The events solely are expected to attract more than 150,000 visitors, everyday. More than 70 million people are expected to visit the Expo 2010, which represents around 400 thousand people per day, including dozens of Heads of States, politicians and international personalities.

World Expo

World Expo’s are considered to be the third largest propellant event of business and development, only behind the Olympic Games and the World Cup. Throughout history, they have been consolidated as a place for the presentation and disclosure of the world’s greatest inventions. Known also as the Olympic Games of Economics, Sciences and Technology, they also leave icons in the host cities, such as the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Atom in Brussels and the Expo Park in Lisbon. Moreover, they are responsible for the regeneration of degraded areas, requalification of the exposition site as well as for urban reorganization. The World Expos happen, in average, every five years and have the duration of six months.
The first World Expo was held in London, 1851, a city considered to be an economic power at the time. However, it was only from the 20th century that the choice of the event’s host started to be made by the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE). Based in Paris, the BIE currently has 155 member-states, among them, Brazil. According to BIE, the World Expo is a unique space for multilateral actions that result in the union of the world’s nations for peace and cooperation. The goals are to support the international relations, spread culture and education, encourage economic growth, preserve the environment, promote the urban renewal and disclose both technological and scientific innovations.

Sao Paulo at Expo Shanghai

For the first time in history, the event has the participation of cities; so far, only countries were present. In 2007, Sao Paulo was invited to apply for the Urban Best Practices Area (UBPA), a space dedicated to the presentation of solutions found by the cities to a variety of urban problems faced in different fields.

As in April, 2008, Sao Paulo’s application was approved. Of all 188 applications presented, 55 were selected, and Sao Paulo, with the Clean City Act, has achieved the fourth position, only behind Brisbane (Australia), Seoul (South Korea) and Hong Kong (China). Renowned internationally, the Clean City Act is an important appeal for the city. According to the Expo Organizing Committee, the initiative that transformed the polluted visual aspect of the most cosmopolitan of all South American cities, is considered to be one of the best urban practices among the main theme of Expo 2010 which is ‘Better City, Better Life’.

The presence at Expo 2010 is part of the positioning strategy of Sao Paulo in the international context. More than 190 countries and dozens of international institutions and non-governmental organizations will participate in the event. It is a unique platform to disclose Sao Paulo, consolidate its image as a global city, exhibit its competitive potential and attract tourists and businesses. Expo is a stage for the exchange of experiences in best practices, as well as being a single opportunity to present to the world the impacts and benefits of actions and projects developed in the city. Also, it works as a space to show the positioning of the most cosmopolitan metropolis in South America regarding the most prominent subjects in the international agenda such as tackling climate change, sustainable development, clean and renewable energies, among others. In the globalized world, Sao Paulo seeks to amplify cooperation, technical, cultural and commercial exchange.

Press - Adriana Reis
00 55 11 3113.8564 - São Paulo - Brasil
00 86 137 6161 0740 - Xangai - China
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