Issue 6 —
The magazine that devotes itself to all the design that falls between the traditional definitions of architecture, interior or product design gives over its entire sixth issue to the Shanghai Expo 2010. It’s a fitting choice. Manifestations of this kind, with their roots in a nineteenth century notion of a world fair, probably remain the most distilled example of what Plot is all about: designed spaces and environments loaded with intention, meaning and connotation, but not clearly intended for the quotidian uses that we might ordinarily associate with architecture.
In effect, the issue primarily focuses on its editorial on a selection of presentations and projects that really should be experienced at this stupendously bombastic Expo. Thomas Heatherwick’s ‘Seed Cathedral’ constituting the British presentation is cited. Perhaps this comes as no surprise since his spiky sculpture of a cathedral, taking its inspiration from what lies within, has proved a huge international hit. Housed within the structure is a spectacular presentation of the world’s botanical potential in the form of thousands of variety of seeds. It stands side by side with other notable pavilions such as the Chilean, Saudi Arabian, German and Swiss.
But, perhaps more importantly, the issue devotes substantial thought to articles that consider the contextual side of things such as the meaning of these kinds of world fairs in an age of globalisation or the political and economic forces at play as nations attempt to formulate some visualisation of an official national identity. A fascinating read for anyone interested in design and its intrinsic motivations and Utopian tendencies.