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Heatherwick’s pavilion rods up for sale

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A number of acrylic rods from Thomas Heatherwick’s Shanghai ‘Seed Pavilion’ have been put up for auction today on a Chinese website

The £26 million UK Pavilion for Expo 2010 Shanghai is set to be dismantled, despite a host of interested buyers.

Its 60,000 acrylic spikes, each containing a seed, will be distributed to various causes – an undisclosed number of which are being auctioned for charity today (28 October).

The online sale will see thousands of the clear rods go up for grabs.

A spokeswoman for Taobao.com said the sale of the 7.5 metre long spikes, which lend the pavilion a ‘dandelion-like’ appearance, will raise funds for children with cerebral palsy.

Carma Elliot, the pavilion’s commissioner-general, said: ‘“Dandelion” is the UK Pavilion’s nickname and through Taobao, we hope this dandelion will be dispersed widely to spread British blessings, friendship and culture throughout China.’

The six-storey, cube structure won the Royal Institute of British Architects’ Lubetkin Prize, and is also known as the ‘Seed Cathedral’ because each of the 60,000 rods contained a seed from the Royal Botanical Garden’s Millennium Seed Bank in London.

Justine Chao, spokeswoman for Taobao’s parent company said buyers would receive the end of the rod that contains the seed.

Proceeds from the auction will go to the Shanghai CereCare Wellness Centre, which offers physiotherapy and education to young children suffering from cerebral palsy.

Meanwhile, in a separate statement, it was revealed that 20,000 of the rods would be donated to the the Kunming Institute of Botany in southwestern China, the region where many of the seeds were originally collected.

A further 20,000 of the rods are expected to return to Kew Gardens, south west London.

Due to Expo rules, the pavilion must be dismantled after the six-month event.

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