Shanghai Synth.
A kinetic installation - Hungarian Pavilion @ World Expo, Shanghai (CN) 2010

The opening ceremony of the pavilion & the installation. Download video here (mp4)


The Hungarian Pavilion of Shanghai forms a dynamically changing whole, integrating the pavilion's most important part, the Gömböc. The space is constructed by several static, and 800 active, kinetic wooden objects. Custom built software is responsible for the controlling of the moving parts.

Factors for defining the shape

The ever-changing generative system is an automated "shapeshifter" displaying mathematical algorithms, noise and blocks which can remind the observer to an evolving cityscape. The led lights coming out on the bottom of the hanging poles are turning the whole into a 3d moving surface display.

interactive applet ~java needed
(turn on audio)
The sonic environment

The sound environment consists several layers. The system is closely related to the moving mechanical objects in the space. The concept is unified both on the visual and the audible domain. The sound organisation and spatialization are based on the same database as the moving architecture.

The sounds are controlled by a remote computer: it is connected with the controlling software of the kinetic sticks, the whole system is synchronized.

The sounds can be easily associated with physical phenomens. On one hand, they remind us to natural sounds, like rain, or water drops, water bubbles. Hungarian birds can be heard flocking around. Fragments of the fairy tale "Kisgömböc" (spoken by blind children) can be heard at another group of sounds.

interactive applet ~java needed
(turn on audio)

  • Outside view of the Pavilion


    2010 april, Shanghai, China

    Orange Fish
  • Hanging wood poles outside


    The structure is creating a light, open environment above the entrance

    Sea Turtle
  • Outside floor


    The small stones are making a dense surface, while the white shapes are originated from the form of the Gomboc. This method is also well used in traditional buildings around china

    Red Coral
  • Look inside, from above


    There are hundreds of poles inside the building. They are hanging from above, each of them can be kinetically controlled via their motors built in the ceiling

    Coral Reef
  • Closer look at the poles


    There are about 30 poles which have built-in speakers, thus forming the system into a multichannel sound installation

    Blue Fish
  • The forest


    By walking around, one can have a "forest-like" experience. Moving between the kinetic poles listening to local sound events (ie your position in space) are key features of the installation

    Yellow Fish
  • Keep on walking


    Day of the opening ceremony

  • Gomboc


    Tha pavilion's main focus is on the Gomboc - a recent Hungarian success within the fields of math & science

    Small Fish
  • Evening lights


    Light is coming out from the bottom of the poles which is well reflected from the shiny surface of the floor around

    Small Fish
  • Water tubes


    The evening lights are running through the water tubes outside

    Small Fish
  • Outside view of the Pavilion


    by night

    Small Fish


download high resolution images, pdf and more in one compressed file (233 Mb)
Concept & Realisation


Tamás Lévai


László Harnos
Csaba Helmle
Bence Kertész
József Árva
Ágnes Jószai


Ágoston Nagy
Bence Samu


Eszter Bircsák


András Sipos
Dezs? Hegyi
Tibor Battai
Ferenc Németi
Ferenc Haász

all rights reserved (2010)