Electric boom and flowers in bloom at Auto Shanghai 2023
Bringing creative ideas to life isn’t always easy. Keeping them alive can be even harder. With only weeks to bring a field of flowers into the technical space of an electric car launch, our teams were put to the test. Here's how they did it.
Year after year, Auto Shanghai manages to hold its position as the largest motor show in China. This year, the bi-annual car show returned with an electric bang.With more than 1000 exhibitors, the event saw representation from legacy automakers as well as electric newcomers, supercars, tech giants, and green energy suppliers – even cars with internal combustion engines. (We can’t say for sure, but the crowd seemed thinner in that part of the building…)But with thousands of car makers and car models, how does one make one’s stand stand out from the crowd? (Tongue twisters are on the house). Well, we added thousands, tens of thousands, amounting to hundreds of thousands of… flowers to the mix. 90,000 red tulips, give or take.The idea? To place our cars amongst an organic, yet organised, expression of beauty. One that presents an alternative to the architectural and the artificial which are often prevalent in automotive.From bulb to blossom
Tasked with bringing the vision to life, Lynn Wong, executive producer at We Create (and self-taught tulip carer extraordinaire), went into investigation mode. To determine the feasibility of bringing delicate flowers to a car exhibition, Wong and her team had to learn everything there was to learn about working with flowers of this kind, on this scale.“Each tulip is like a little life in need of constant care and monitoring,” explains Lynn. “Now imagine caring for hundreds of thousands of these delicate things. It was quite the challenge. One that my team and I were mostly excited about, but also nervous to take on.”The tulips were mainly sourced from one of China’s largest hubs for flora, Weifang in the Shandong Province. Wong’s crew also went from greenhouse to greenhouse in the local area to secure as many tulip bulbs as they could of the same red colour.Beyond being one of the most eye-catching of colours, red has a special place in Chinese culture as a symbol of passion, vitality, luck, prosperity, and happiness.In the lead up to the show, the tulips were kept under supervision in temperature-controlled greenhouses with shades and auto irrigation to control humidity and light to make sure they all blossomed at exactly the right moment.
Nature meets man-madeThe inspiration for the event stand saw its first seed sown way back when the brand was first launched. When trying to circle in on the concept of beauty, Polestar Head of Brand Pär Heyden and his team kept coming back to childhood joys like nature and flowers – elements that are not traditionally linked to car manufacturers.Several years later, Heyden would see his vision of bringing the natural world into the technical space of automotive realised. Most striking wasn’t the sea of red, however. It was the fragrance of hundreds of thousands of blooming tulips.“The first thing I noticed was the scent. That’s something you cannot plan or experience when looking at computer renderings. It just hits you once you walk into the space. It was quite a spectacular moment,” says Heyden, when asked about his first reaction to the Polestar stand.
Although building the event stand was not without its setbacks – with thousands of flowers succumbing to the heat of the event halls – come show day, Polestar 4 was unveiled amid perfect rows of red tulips.Watch the run-up to Auto Shanghai 2023 in the film above or on our YouTube channel.
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