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Little bit of aapnu Amdavad in China

2010. 7 March

by Suranjana Roy Bhattacharya
( India is all set to woo the world with bamboo, Buddhism and a bit of Ahmedabad in China. Sidi Syed ni Jali, the unofficial symbol of Ahmedabad, will be assured of a 70 million strong audience when it is unveiled at the 2010 Shanghai World Expo in May.

The 16th century stonework will take a wooden incarnation on top of giant gateway to the India pavilion, which would cost Rs 40 crore. Not only does the ‘tree of life’ makes for an impressive entrance, but it is also the theme around which designer DR Naidu has created his ‘city of harmony’, the Sanchi Stupa.

Naidu, senior creative director of Design-C, a Delhi-based company designing and executing the project for India Trade Promotion Organisation, explains how the Indian showpiece will pack in a number of firsts. This will be the largest dome in the world made of bamboo, an architectural marvel worked out by Columbian designer Simon Velez.

Buddhism too comes in a high-tech package with the designers opting for a holographic projection for visitors, while Gujarat gets pride of place with its industrial muscle.

Naidu’s team went to Anji, the bamboo grove of China, to choose the right kind of stuff. Interestingly, a factory which produced only chopsticks thus far was converted to deliver giant sized bamboo, strong enough to form a 17 meter high dome. The exterior of this dome will be interwoven with copper plates, the motif once again being the Sidi Syed ni Jali.

Indian designers are competing with the big billions and cutting-edge technology. Naidu, along with well-known architects and engineers Sanjay Prakash, Pradeep Sachdeva and Prem Krishna, have had to think outside the box. The challenge was to package a secular India, its silks and handicrafts with the industrial age, while fitting into the expo’s theme of ‘Better City Better Life’.

The Shanghai Expo is essentially about governments around the world showing off their best alternative energy strategies to build cities of the future. Getting this giant operation off the ground is Arindam Roy Choudhury, who co-ordinates with the Chinese engineers and workers, racing to meet the deadline. The pavilion integrates solar, wind and rainwater harvesting in a smart way.

The six-month-long World Expo, which starts on May 1, takes place every four years. The 1200-acre site in Shanghai will host the biggest fair in history and the Shanghai administration has trained 70,000 volunteers for the event with the local Chinese taking crash courses in English. Source: