CSSP Corporate Pavilion Hero Image

CSSP Corporate Pavilion

The Shanghai World Expo asked its participants to imagine the city of the future with four simple words, "Better City, Better Life"


Chinese State Shipbuilding Corporation


Ralph Appelbaum Associates

Project Type

Exhibit Design & Environmental Graphics

Role & Responsabilities

Concept Ideation, Motion Graphic & Production

Programs & Skills

Exhibit Design, Environmental Graphics, Motion Graphics

Date Completed

June 23, 2009


The location of the China State Shipbuilding Corporation Pavilion (CSSP) at the Shanghai World Expo 2010 is of particular excitement. The China State Shipbuilding Corporation (CSSC) decided to build their pavilion on the location of their 140-year-old Jiangnan Shipyard. This shipping factory is legendary in the region since its founding. Its innovations and development over the last century has helped with the rise of China’s national industries and evolution of state-owned factories. The history of the CSSC is so great, that even after the Expo the pavilion will be one of the few that continues to live on as a museum.

The pavilion also was considered extremely exciting because it gave the CSSC and opportunity to create a vision of the future as have been doing for past century. It was my team’s responsibility to help assist the CSSC in creating their vision for the future, but with a twist. The theme of the Shanghai World Expo 2010 was “Better City, Better Life,” we decided to have our theme be “Better Ship, Better City.” The over al theme illustrates what life would be like if people left land and began to live on the banks of rivers and cities and even, life on large floating cities.

Exterior Architecture

The exterior was designed to encourage visitors to enter the pavilion and instill a sense of passion and excitement. The arched structures are meant to resemble a keel of ship’s skeleton; to others this skeleton structure resembles a dragon, which to many Chinese symbolizes the spirit of China and its history. At night the pavilions exterior features a large synchronized light wall (which can be seen below).

Exterior Lobby

This pavilion is built inside a deconstructed shipbuilding factory owned by the CSSC. Much of the original features and structural elements are still visible to the guests. This area features many standalone environmental graphics and installations talking about the past and present of the CSSC and the importance of shipbuilding and shipping to China’s history and economy today. The intent of this lobby is to quickly educate a guest on where this corporation has come from, and the pavilion exhibit is to illustrate where the possibilities could go.

Central Business District

Once visitors have entered the pavilion they are full enveloped in the scope of the sights and sounds they are about to experience. The huge four-story lobby known as the “Central Business District” (CBD) is meant to represent the downtown of these large man made floating cities of the future. The CBD features large windows with digital displays representing the store-fronts of the future. Some of the storefronts feature the restaurants and foods that will be available on, how shopping and daily homes would be organized.

Interior Concepts

The pavilion features many inspiring and engaging areas to encourages guests to think what the future could be.

Models are placed on glass to resemble them floating, video information is projected on the glass.

The Sailing City Forum, introduces visitors to how a permanent floating city would work. It included the types of features every city would have and how it would work logistically.

The final major area of the pavilion ends in the City Hall Theater” and features a video that takes place in the future on one of these floating cities. It talks about their past and cities moved to floating cities and how the communities prospered. The intent was to have visitors feeling excited for the future, and hopefully, inspired them to do their best and protect the world for future people.

Interior Walk Through

With the theme “Better Ship, Better City”, the pavilion will showcase new energy, new space, new life, and explore new modes of global sustainable development and human civilization through exhibitions of vessels, water cities and a water world in the future.

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