MET was commissioned, in partnership with multimedia consultants The Visual Connection, to produce a theatrical experience that would represent Macau’s fascinating fusion of Chinese and Portuguese cultures at the Lisbon World Expo in 1998.
Before working on the design it was necessary for our design and research team to visit Macau to help us understand and immerse ourselves in it’s unique culture. The striking image of the magnificent, free-standing, 17th century baroque St Paul’s church façade made a huge impact, becoming the starting point for our design. We chose to focus on this lasting impression of Macau by recreating a ¾ size replica façade, intertwined with a 40 metre long golden Chinese Dragon as a powerful symbol of East meeting West in perfect harmony. The design team even rolled up their sleeves on site and helped paint the replica façade which stands on the site today.
Beyond the façade and dragon, we designed a combination of everyday scenes from Macau which allowed visitors to ‘walk the streets’, undertaking an imaginary trip to the Orient. A Buddhist Lou Lim Ieoc garden was also reconstructed to full scale in the heart of the pavilion, featuring a nine-bend snake bridge and a tea pavilion where visitors could watch live Chinese dancers and acrobats, or simply relax in rest areas provided in our Chinese garden.
'By far the most popular feature of Lisbon's Expo 98 was the Macau pavilion. It received 4 million visitors, ten times the population of the Chinese enclave itself' (The Economist)
'The Macau Pavilion stands out from the crowds by getting away from the usual Expo architectural language to create a visual identity based on heritage' (FX Magazine)