While the majority of the French exhibits can be described as Art Deco, the foreign pavilions presented a variety of architectural forms and stylistic features, ranging from the eclecticism of the British Pavilion, designed by Easton & Robertson, to the radical Modernism of the Soviet pavilion by Konstantin Mel'nikov and the Pavillon de l'Esprit Nouveau by Le Corbusier and Pierre Jeanneret. Other countries, such as Denmark, combined national traditions with simple modern lines.
Two notable absences in the list of participating countries were Germany and the US. The latter declined the invitation, claiming that it could not contribute enough examples of modern design. Germany's participation was the object of much disagreement and an invitation was eventually issued, but too late for the country to organise a suitable contribution.
The Pavillon de l'Esprit Nouveau housed the Plan Voisin, Le Corbusier's proposal for a modern city in Paris based on the adoption of high-rise buildings. The exhibition organisers had intentionally given the architect a secluded site as they feared the public's reaction to the plan and to the uncompromising minimalism of the pavilion. They even erected a fence around the building, which was, however, removed just before the opening of the exhibition. The controversy that followed did not deter the international jury, which wanted to award Le Corbusier first prize, but the proposal was vetoed by the French academicians.