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Indo-German Urban Mela – Pavilions


The pavilions are 'textile structures’ designed by renowned German installation artist, Markus Heinsdorff. Created specifically for ‘Germany and India 2011-2012: Infinite Opportunities’, the multi-functional pavilions are modern in design and double up as works of art. There are 16 pavilions that are comprised of six structures of varying shapes and sizes, each serving a particular purpose, like hosting a conference, cultural event, corporate presentation or an exhibition.

India celebrates a long and evolved textile tradition with structures like tents playing a role in Indian culture and heritage for centuries. The pavilion design incorporates this rich legacy and combines traditional Indian tents with state of the art textile technology and components from Europe. This interplay of art and architecture, local tradition and international technology allows for the creation of innovative and sustainable new designs.

The external design of the pavilion adopts the crystalline form of gemstones. The colours of the sheets covering the structures resemble shades of precious metals such as gold, silver and copper. Ruby red and titanium white are also used. Heinsdorff has designed the pavilions to be modular and flexible in style enabling them to be individually assembled or combined to create larger structures. In keeping with the main theme of the year of Germany in India, “StadtRäume – CitySpaces”, this design feature allows the pavilions to adapt to the local conditions in each of the five venues.

The double-sided walls help control the temperature inside the pavilions. Openings in individual parts of the exterior sheets allow for natural air flow inside. As sections of the facade are made of translucent fabric, daylight flows inside, and at night the light from inside flows outwards illuminating the outside area around the structure.

Importantly, the individual components made of steel, wood and textiles can not only be recycled and reused, but are also easy to repair or replace. Each individual structure is equipped with its own portable floor made of steel and a wooden framework that can be dismantled. The height of the floor is adjustable so that it can be installed on soft or hard surfaces. There is also an option to use weight slabs or cable braces which will protect the pavilions against storms.

The largest pavilion comprises of self-supporting hexagonal forms just like the honeycomb, which can be seamlessly joined with similar structures to create a larger unit.

Details of the Structures

Round (Multifunctional - Type 1): Floor area 130 sqm; height 4 m 
Square (Multifunctional - Type 2): Floor area 80 sqm; height 4 m
Hexagonal (Three hexagons joined together - Type 3): Floor area 150 sqm (3 x 50 sqm & connecting surfaces); height 4 m
Decagon (Type 4): Floor area 75 sqm; height 4 m
Round (Type 5A and 5B): Floor area 50 sqm; height 4 m
Round (Type 7): Floor area 100 sqm (2 x 50 Type 5B with connecting passage); height 4 m.


The objective is to use superior materials with advanced construction styles to create strong buildings. Thin fabric is used to create the façade of the buildings and the roof is designed using light steel poles. Six different structures have been developed for various purposes like hosting events, conferences and exhibitions. A specific location is chosen in each city in coherence with the pavilion depending on factors like the location and general local conditions of a place.

Structures and their Construction

  • Sustainable spatial construction is made out of steel. The material used can be recycled and as it is light-weight, it is also very mobile. This entire system was built in India.
  • Varying structures, each with a unique façade made of different fabrics, showcase the multi-faceted image of the Indo-German Urban Mela.
  • Only one architectural system is used to design single and double walls, conical, round and square structures of the pavilions.
  • Each pavilion can be connected with the other, thereby resulting in one mega structure.
  • The fabric used to create a façade is of varied quality - opaque, transparent, colourful, white or with patterns. 


The structures and their façades have been inspired by precious stones and use a beautiful display of light and shadows. The shapes take their forms from diamonds, sapphires and emeralds and use the colours gold, silver, copper, ruby red, titanium white.

The pavilions utilise a variety of construction styles ranging from ultra-modern to traditional. Most of the designs combine traditional Indian techniques with authentic German styles.

The mobile system uses a range of innovative techniques like lightweight construction. This kind of construction comprises of a light roof, which is mainly made of ropes with steel tubes used in the façades. These can be assembled with great ease and are so well balanced that they appear to be self-stabilising. For instance the façade of the 130 sqm structure is shaped like a diamond,3it can be stacked like chairs to save space when being transported or stored. The other example is the largest pavilion, this is the shape of a honeycomb and can be folded and stored in multiple ways.

Roofs & Facades

Roofs and facades are made of translucent or opaque cloth and coated in PVC making them easy to prepare and quite durable. The double-walled facades provide shade, which naturally cools and maintains the temperature inside the structure. The opening for natural air flow and various aerodynamic designs also help in maintaining the right temperature.

Venue Arrangement

The structures are designed in such a way that they can easily adapt to a variety of environments and serves to be representative of the overarching theme “StadtRäume - CitySpaces”. The pavilions are modular and flexible and can be individually assembled and installed in a number of different ways depending on the need of the hour.

The floor of each pavilion is portable and made of steel frames with a plywood covering. This can be dismantled easily and used in many environments and on various surfaces like fields, muddy ground, flagstone and concrete without the need to use guy-ropes or braces.


The membranes are designed so that at night, the lighting inside will illuminate the surrounding area outside the structures. This also works in reverse as during the day, the natural light will help to brighten up the pavilion interiors.


The pavilions demonstrate many eco-friendly features. They are made from wood, steel and thin membranes that can easily be recycled or reused in temporary or permanent structures.