Words by Herbert Wright
Architecture Zorrozua y Associados
Area 800 sq m
The three-storey rectangular volume that is Ecuador's pavilion by Bilbao-based practice Zorrozua y Associados is simple to the point of being almost basic, but its vividly patterned facades grab the eye like nothing else on the Expo's Decumano axis. The exterior is hung with a curtain of coloured beads in traditional, indigenous stripes and simple motifs representing 'sumak kawsay' (living well in the Quecha language). The effect is warm, honest, and surprisingly independent of ambient-light conditions.
On the first floor, Ecuador has opted for complete wall projections that show its four zones of Ecuador, including the Galapagos and the capital Quito. It has more biodiversity per square kilometre than any country in the world, and the images are stunning. But there are smells as well, courtesy of special display units that not only project holograms inside vitrines but also have a sniffing grid as well.
The smell of tuna and cocoa may be familiar -- but how about the Andes roses that grow 2m high? Only one post offers no smell -- it demonstrates where the equator is. Ecuador has chosen to show its geography as much as its food, but the restaurant below has plenty of the latter.