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Hettema Group Partners with Philippe Cousteau Jr. to Design USA Expo 2012 Pavilion

Construction photo Feb. 2012. USA Pavilion is on second level.  Courtesy USA Pavilion 2012

Washington, DC, USA (March 8, 2012) /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — USA Pavilion 2012, the organization charged with designing, building and operating the USA Pavilion for this summer’s World Expo in Yeosu, South Korea, today announced the design plans for the USA Pavilion experience.

The USA Pavilion unifying themes of Diversity, Wonder and Solutions will tie in to the overall Expo theme of “The Living Ocean and Coast” and will explore the vital connection between the health and well-being of cultures and communities and the future of one of our most important resources: the ocean. Through a host of exciting technologies and immersive storytelling, the USA Pavilion will highlight the diverse and dynamic nature of America’s ocean and coastal environments as well as the colorful mosaic of American life. Expected to draw eight million visitors to the new port area of Yeosu, South Korea, the Expo will be in operation from May 12 through August 12, 2012.

“The USA Pavilion will use the power of storytelling to bring to life the core values of innovation, partnership and hope that define the American spirit for millions of visitors,” said Andrew Snowhite, chief executive officer of USA Pavilion 2012.  

The Hettema Group has been selected to spearhead creative design and production of the USA Pavilion experience. The design for the 13,312-square foot USA Pavilion space will incorporate striking imagery and multi-dimensional elements to create a truly cross-cultural experience. The USA Pavilion will include the following design and programming features:

  • A main attraction of stunning images, music and film will be projected in dazzling clarity across a 70-foot wide screen. Created around the simple yet impactful concept of “This is My Ocean,” individual voices and stories will unfold during the presentation to convey the diverse beauty of the American coastline and the many personal and profound types of connections Americans enjoy with the vast ocean. Using state-of-the-art high definition projection, the large format main show will feature contributions from many of the United States’ most prominent nature film producers as well as stunning motion graphics and sound design from award winning Hollywood production companies.
  • A large screen composed entirely of water will amaze guests when they enter the USA Pavilion. This fluid and shifting surface is the perfect canvas to begin a unique journey that will take guests from the shorelines of America to the frontiers of deep ocean research and show that with energy, optimism and cooperation we can meet the challenges the future holds.
  • Forty American Student Ambassadors from universities and colleges from around the United States will serve as guides throughout the USA Pavilion experience, greeting and assisting guests in Korean and English and providing a face to the strong people-to-people ties already shared between the United States and Korea.
  • Mobile technologies and social media will enhance and expand the USA Pavilion experience. Visitors entering the USA Pavilion will have the opportunity to scan Q.R. Tags with their phones that link to content about the United States’ coastal waters and communities. Facebook, Twitter and other social media interaction will make it possible for people everywhere to experience the USA Pavilion through updates, virtual events and behind the scenes content. The Facebook page is and the Twitter handle is @usapavilion2012.

USA Pavilion 2012 is a public-private partnership and funded exclusively through private donations. Corporate sponsors include: Chevron; Citi; Boeing; Coca-Cola, Corning Incorporated; Hyundai Motor Company; Kia Motors America; Lockheed Martin; Samsung Electronics America, Inc.; GE; and Becton Dickinson. 



Established in 2002 and based in Pasadena, California, The Hettema Group specializes in creative design, production and architecture for theme parks, museums, visitor centers and international resort destinations, including projects in North America, the Middle East and Asia. Before founding the firm, Phil Hettema served as senior vice president of attraction development for Universal Studios Theme Parks Worldwide for more than a decade. Among the firm’s recent projects is the award-winning, multi-media experience “Beyond All Boundaries” for the National World War II Museum. The cinematic production, narrated and executive produced by Tom Hanks, received top awards from the Themed Entertainment Association and the American Association of Museums for “its powerfully emotional evocation of the war that spanned the globe.” For more information, please go to

Featuring the themes of Diversity, Wonder and Solutions, the USA Pavilion will share the voices and hopes of the American people with our friends and partners in Korea and around the globe. The U.S. Department of State is partnering with explorer, environmentalist and social entrepreneur Philippe Cousteau Jr., to design and operate the USA Pavilion. The 13,312-square foot exhibition space will house exhibits and programming that represent the unique and diverse nature of America’s ocean environments and coastal communities. For more information, please go to Follow the USA Pavilion experience on Twitter @usapavilion2012 or like us on Facebook at
Joe Kleiman
Joe Kleiman
Raised in San Diego on theme parks, zoos, and IMAX films, InPark's Senior Correspondent Joe Kleiman would expand his childhood loves into two decades as a projectionist and theater director within the giant screen industry. In addition to his work in commercial and museum operations, Joe has volunteered his time to animal husbandry at leading facilities in California and Texas and has played a leading management role for a number of performing arts companies. Joe previously served as News Editor and has remained a contributing author to InPark Magazine since 2011. HIs writing has also appeared in Sound & Communications, LF Examiner, Jim Hill Media, The Planetarian, Behind the Thrills, and MiceChat His blog, takes an unconventional look at the attractions industry. Follow on twitter @ThemesRenewed Joe lives in Sacramento, California with his wife, dog, and a ghost.

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