Expo 2020 Dubai: The desert converted into the world’s largest museum lifestyle
The United Arab Emirates starts its countdown to Expo 2020 Dubai. The global exhibition, starting on 20 October and lasting until 10 April 2021 – coinciding with the country’s 500th anniversary – will gather people together from over 190 countries. More than 25 million visitors are expected to attend (70% of them international).
This is one of the largest exhibitions ever held in the Middle East, with a significant economic impact: it could increase Dubai’s GDP by 2.5% (with profits of 30 billion dollars and the creation of 50,000 direct jobs expected) through creativity, innovation, and collaboration on a global scale to “solve the most urgent problems of our times:opportunity, mobility, and sustainability”, the organisers said in a statement.
The minds of the future
Under the slogan “Connecting minds, creating the future”, the show will span 200,0000 m2 of exhibition space and 200,0000 m2 of complementary facilities, including the Expo 2020 Village which will have hotels, warehouses, logistics, transport, shops, and a public park.
Its goal is to bring ideas from around the world together and establish a common front to respond to the challenges of the future. These include climate change, and using technological advances and smart buildings to improve our quality of life. With this in mind, half of the energy consumed at the event will be renewable. The buildings will also have environmental awareness at their core, with 90% of the building materials used coming from recycled structures or old infrastructures.
Soaring from the heart of the exhibition will be Al Wasl Plaza: an open space in which technology, design, and innovation will come together under one structure, with the three main areas or streets flowing out: Opportunity, Mobility, and Sustainability. The three central concepts of Expo 2020 Dubai. “Opportunity is the key to development, as it ensures new doors can be opened for people and communities, which in turn can help them meet their current needs and future aspirations. Mobility is the bridge to opportunity, and connections between people, goods, and ideas make it possible, increasing the potential for easier access to markets, knowledge, and innovation. Meanwhile, sustainability can guide us in terms of how we can increase opportunities by doing more, with less. At the same time, it protects and preserves our environment for future generations”, states an official communication.
The Spanish Pavilion: a design uniting chess and sustainability
Spain will be one of the leading countries at the international exhibition given its diplomatic and historic relationship with the United Arab Emirates, with 6,000 m2 of exhibition space.
The Spanish Pavilion, a project by Amman-Cánovas-Maruri studio, will focus on “intelligence for life”, with chess and sustainability as the guiding threads.
Linking to the event’s core theme, the Spanish organisation will host an online World Chess Tournament for schools, with the 192 guest countries taking part. The matches will be held from April 2020 and the final will take place in person at Dubai Expo. “The Spanish Pavilion will present – and represent – Spain at the Expo, an exceptional opportunity to strengthen the country’s brand and a unique platform for scientific, technological, business, and cultural diplomacy. It should be an unforgettable experience for visitors and a showcase for our capabilities and the contributions of our creative and productive fabric“, said Acción Cultural Española in an online statement.
As a demonstration of Spanish institutions’ and companies’ ecological transition, and the measures being adopted in the fight against climate change, the enclosure will draw on clean energy resources through solar panels installed on its exterior.
Mobility according to Foster + Partners
Mobility will be another key theme at Expo 2020 Dubai and will have a pavilion dedicated solely to it, surrounded by a large square with animations and lights echoing the layout of a marketplace.
Designed by prestigious architecture studio Foster + Partners (RIBA Stirling Prize 2018 for the Bloomberg offices), the pavilion’s main structure is in the shape of a three-leaf clover, marking a return to the clean, geometric lines so typical of the Foster + Partners style. These same lines define TONO, an exclusive bathroom collection the studio created for Noken, a Porcelanosa Group firm, in tribute to organic design over the purely functional.
Through its bioclimatic and inclusive architecture, the building raises several possibilities and questions about the mobility of people, ideas, and data, giving a glimpse of what future movements may be like with the use of big data and digital tools. “The dawn of the 21st century represents a unique moment for us to reconfigure, reinvigorate, and rethink our connections, moving away from traditional approaches to solving global problems. It’s about forging essential and smart collaborations in three key priority areas: opportunity, mobility, and sustainability; with a view to inspiring and shaping the future of all countries and communities”, concludes the event organiser.