Expo 2020 Dubai: The Opportunity District to inspire visitors to act for a better world
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Expo 2020 Dubai: The Opportunity District to inspire visitors to act for a better world

Based on the sub-theme Opportunity, an entire district at the Expo 2020 showcases pavilions of countries like Austria, Japan, Switzerland and Ukraine among others.

by Meghna Mehta Oct 29, 2019

World Expos, over the years, have been instrumental in bringing together countries from all over the world to applaud and share innovation, technology and collaboration across various fields on one platform, at one place. It becomes the largest celebration internationally that takes place every five years and lasts for about six months.  

Now, the Expo 2020 will welcome the world to the UAE for six months, serving as a connector between governments, companies, international organisations and citizens.

A celebration for all, to discover, invent and encourage progress, each Expo revolves around its own theme and the Dubai extravaganza revolves around the theme ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. The largest event to be ever staged in the Arab world will host 190 participating countries and millions of people from across the world, from October 20, 2020 till April 10, 2021.

The three sub-themes - Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability – will act as key pillars in encouraging collaboration and presenting opportunities for everyone to make a difference in the future of humanity and the planet.

The Opportunity theme intends to unlock the potential for individuals and communities to shape the future. A thematic pavilion called the ‘Opportunity Pavilion’ has been designed by Australian architecture firm Cox Architecture, and various country pavilions have been allocated under the district ‘Opportunity’ as a part of the masterplan. The 13 countries showcasing their pavilions in this category are - Austria, Belarus, China, Italy, Norway, Japan, UK, Ukraine, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Monaco, Saudi Arabia and Morocco.

Opportunity Pavilion

The Opportunity Pavilion designed by Cox Architecture aspires to engender empathy in visitors to trigger a desire to act to create a better world. The visitor experience has been created as a series of gameplay moments that challenge the visitor’s thinking on issues related to basic needs of water, food, and energy by simulating environments of real life individuals who are agents of change in their own communities. The pavilion has been made from organic materials, including timber, 2,500 tonnes of stone and 111 km of woven rope.

COUNTRY PAVILIONS

The Austria Pavilion

The Austria Pavilion designed by Querkraft explores the theme ‘Every good idea begins with the right question’. It investigates the benefits of low-tech innovation and the enjoyment of having a cultured chat over coffee in Austria, posing it as a nation that reimagines ideas. This is further proved with the use of 9,000-year-old soil to build its pavilion, which comprises 47 truncated cones. The innovative use of the cones will keep the structure ventilated, which will house exhibitions, workshops and installations. The pavilion will provide visitors an opportunity to take a trip to the Viennese coffeehouse, and know why the United Nations lists the institution as an ‘intangible cultural heritage’.

The Austria Pavilion designed by Querkraft at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Austria Pavilion designed by Querkraft at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Belarus Pavilion

The pavilion designed by architecture firm NÜSSLI Adunic AG is based on the theme ‘Forest of Future Technology’, attempting to make the visitor discover how nature and technology can help us grow together. Belarus is exploring the themes of innovation, investment and the individual at its pavilion, which recreates the look and feel of the nation’s primeval forests. Similar to how the trees in a forest grow stronger and live longer when they stand together, this experience will invite visitors to collaborate with one another to ensure that we share a better future together. Belarus will also showcase its high-tech creations, sustainability initiatives and opportunities to invest.

The Belarus Pavilion designed by NÜSSLI Adunic AG at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Belarus Pavilion designed by NÜSSLI Adunic AG at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The China Pavilion

It has been designed by architecture firm Construction Engineering Design Group Corporation Limited, on the theme ‘Building a Community with a Shared Future for Mankind - Innovation and Opportunity’. The China Pavilion - covering 4,636 sqm - will be one of the largest at the Expo 2020, bringing together traditional Chinese elements with modern architectural concepts. This pavilion also plans to symbolise hope and a bright future, and is designed in line with the principle of the ‘combination of the Chinese and Western culture with Chinese culture as the core’.  

The China Pavilion designed by Construction Engineering Design Group Corporation Limited at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The China Pavilion designed by Construction Engineering Design Group Corporation Limited at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Italy Pavilion

Celebrating beauty as the connecting element between creativity and knowledge, the Italy Pavilion has been designed by architects Carlo Ratti, Italo Rota, Matteo Gatto and F & M Engineering on the theme, ‘Beauty Connects People’. Set under the overturned hulls of three ships, the Italian pavilion will tell a tale of its culture, art, sustainability, education, science, security and innovation. Taking inspiration from the connecting routes of the Mediterranean, it will take visitors on a tour through history to the future. The pavilion’s design and structure attempts to reflect the skills, products and innovations of Italian companies and communities, highlighting their best practices in areas such as the circular economy and sustainability.

The Italy Pavilion designed by Carlo Ratti, Italo Rota, Matteo Gatto, F & M Engineering at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Italy Pavilion designed by Carlo Ratti, Italo Rota, Matteo Gatto, F & M Engineering at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Norway Pavilion

The Norway Pavilion designed by Rintala Eggertsson Architects, Expomobilia and FiveCurrents, on the theme, ‘Norway as a world-leading ocean nation’, explores the deep blue sea and celebrates the importance of ocean conservation in an approximately 680 sqm of interactive exhibition space. The pavilion attempts to offer a glimpse of Norway's seafaring heritage and its focus on maritime activities by creating an interactive journey from beneath the seabed to the water's surface. The pavilion will also present some of the most pressing environmental issues facing our oceans, and showcase cutting-edge innovations that could help to overcome these challenges.

The Norway Pavilion designed by Rintala Eggertsson Architects, Expomobilia and FiveCurrents at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Norway Pavilion designed by Rintala Eggertsson Architects, Expomobilia and FiveCurrents at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Japan Pavilion

The pavilion designed by Yuko Nagayama and NTT Facilities, on the theme ‘Join. Sync. Act.’, celebrates traditional Japanese hospitality and high-tech entertainment. Visitors will be welcomed by traditional Origami shapes that symbolise the respect shown to others through the Japanese art of Origata gift wrapping. The design encourages one to put the ‘Join.Sync.Act.’ message into action, and discover the vibrant art, culture and technology of the Far East nation, which is set to host Expo 2025 in Osaka, Kansai.

The Japan Pavilion designed by Yuko Nagayama and NTT Facilities at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Japan Pavilion designed by Yuko Nagayama and NTT Facilities at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The UK Pavilion

The UK Pavilion draws inspiration from a project by the late scientist Stephen Hawking, where he pondered how humanity could express itself to an extra-terrestrial civilisation. The design by Es Devlin Studio, Avantgarde and Veretec on the theme ‘Innovating for a shared future, invites visitors to gaze into the future and add their voice to a continuously changing poem. The pavilion will offer an awe-inspiring glimpse into the future, exploring everything from the commercialisation of space to creating exoskeletons for the disabled. The continuously changing poem on the exterior will be generated by artificial intelligence and visitors' contributions.

  • The UK Pavilion designed by Es Devlin Studio, Avantgarde and Veretec at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
    The UK Pavilion designed by Es Devlin Studio, Avantgarde and Veretec at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai
  • The UK Pavilion designed by Es Devlin Studio, Avantgarde and Veretec at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
    The UK Pavilion designed by Es Devlin Studio, Avantgarde and Veretec at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Ukraine Pavilion

Based on the theme ‘Smart Ukraine: Connecting Dots’, the Ukrainian pavilion will demonstrate how bright ideas and latest innovations can help to create a better future. With inventions ranging from an e-bike that can travel 380 kms on a single charge, to blinds that use sunlight to generate electricity, the structure will showcase the innovative spirit of Ukraine while exploring its cultural heritage. The pavilion will also use picturesque flora to create a restful ambiance for visitors. The pavilion will have three zones: smart life, smart thinking and smart feeling, along with an entertainment programme that includes fashion shows, topical seminars and creative performances.

The Ukraine Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Ukraine Pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Switzerland Pavilion

The pavilion designed by architecture firm OOS, on the theme ‘Belles Vues’, engages visitors to take a ‘hike’ and see how Switzerland is responding to the challenges of tomorrow. The Switzerland Pavilion will show the country's cultural values and progressive ideas in a structure inspired by Bedouin tents. After tackling Switzerland's foggy mountains, visitors will be able to access the rooftop for a stylish hangout with great views of Expo 2020, or try some national specialties in the pavilion's restaurant. Visitors will also be able to enjoy temporary exhibitions highlighting Swiss innovations.

The Switzerland Pavilion designed by architecture firm OOS at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Switzerland Pavilion designed by architecture firm OOS at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Luxembourg Pavilion

At the Luxembourg Pavilion designed by Metaform, on the theme ‘Resourceful Luxembourg’, visitors will be able to discover the nation’s efforts to connect human, natural, technical, industrial and financial resources. The design highlights the resources that have contributed to the country’s success, as well as the essential need to preserve them and create new opportunities through their intelligent use. The European nation will also delve into the circular economy, diversity in society and the Next Industrial Revolution. The design of the pavilion, resembling a Mobius strip, symbolises Luxembourg’s openness, dynamism and reliability.

The Luxembourg Pavilion designed by Metaform at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Luxembourg Pavilion designed by Metaform at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy Expo2020 Dubai

The Monaco Pavilion

Through the pavilion designed by AODA and OOS on the theme ‘Monaco 360° – a World of Opportunities’, one will be able to explore diverse national identities by taking a multi-sensory journey inspired by the 'Rock of Monaco'. This gem-like, polygonal pavilion will take visitors on a multi-sensory journey through mirrored exhibition spaces, replicating the sights and smells of the French Riviera. The structure features two main exhibition areas as one traverses through the design. The area 'Garden of Opportunities' includes a variety of interactive experiences that will bring Monaco's warm, sunny climate to life. Visitors will further enter the area 'Kaleidoscope', which will showcase the country's art, culture, innovation, history, gastronomy and more.

The Monaco Pavilion designed by AODA and OOS at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Monaco Pavilion designed by AODA and OOS at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

The Saudi Arabia Pavilion

This pavilion strongly represents the Kingdom’s welcoming character and deep-rooted culture. Designed by Boris Micka Associates on the theme ‘The Sky is the limit’, the 13,000 sqm pavilion resembles a huge window opening up from the ground and soaring into the sky. This will offer visitors an immersive journey showcasing Saudi Arabia’s transformation. Balancing rich heritage and natural wonders with the energy, creativity and innovativeness of its people, the pavilion will attempt to demonstrate how Saudi Arabia is shaping both its own and the world’s future.

The Saudi Arabia Pavilion designed by Boris Micka Associates at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Saudi Arabia Pavilion designed by Boris Micka Associates at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy Expo2020 Dubai

The Morocco Pavilion

The pavilion attempts to represent Morocco as the land rich in talent, full of opportunities and a source of inspiration. The pavilion architecture designed by architects OUALALOU + CHOI, on the theme ‘A Kingdom of Inspiration’, combines modernity and tradition with a building that is inspired by ancestral methods using earth, similar to those used in Moroccan villages. Through a continuous ramp that recalls the streets of the Moroccan medinas, and its "Wast Eddar" patio, the pavilion and its various exhibition areas will provide visitors an immersive experience of the Moroccan culture.

The Morocco Pavilion designed architects OUALALOU + CHOI by at the Expo 2020 Dubai | Pavilions | Opportunity | Expo 2020| Dubai| STIRworld
The Morocco Pavilion designed architects OUALALOU + CHOI by at the Expo 2020 Dubai Image Credit: Courtesy of Expo 2020 Dubai

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About Author

Meghna Mehta

Meghna Mehta

An architect by education and a journalist by passion, Mehta pursued a crossroad between her two interests. Having completed an M.Arch from CEPT University in Ahmedabad, she has worked in the field of architectural journalism for over 5 years. Besides content generation for STIR, she continues to teach in architectural schools in Mumbai.

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