Pushed back a year due to Covid-19, Expo 2020 Dubai finally opened its doors on October 1st of 2021 and will continue through March 2022. With 192 countries participating, the Expo grounds are over 1083 acres and encompass a multitude of pavilions, each proudly showcasing the best of the culture and creativity of the participating countries. Fusing art, creativity and culture, the pavilions provide a unique opportunity for visitors to learn about the achievements of people around the world. Presenting amazing displays ranging from traditional folkloric settings showcasing extraordinary cultures and civilizations to awe-inspiring feats of technological advancement, the Expo which is held every five years in a different country, constitutes the biggest showcase of human brilliance and achievement to date. There are so many interesting pavilions to see and exciting events to experience that it is hard to cover it all in one visit. Here is a glimpse of just a few of the most visually stunning must-see country pavilions at the Expo 2020 Dubai!
A true reflection of America’s essence, the USA pavilion designed by Australian architecture house Woods Bagot, is as grand as it is tech-savvy. Showcasing the USA’s scientific and technical advancement and its diverse and dynamic society, the pavilion takes its guests through a moving walkway that allows them to float through the vast space. With its theme of “Freedom Creating the Future,” the USA’s unique pavilion showcases American cutting-edge technological advancement and also highlights the country’s message of freedom and diversity. Once visitors are done with their tour, they are invited to enjoy an American dining experience at the pavilion’s courtyard.
With a civilization spanning 7000 years, Egypt doesn’t shy away from flaunting its rich history for the world to see. The country’s unique pavilion, designed by architect Hazem Hamada, beautifully fuses Egypt’s rich civilization with its impressive present achievements and promising future. The pavilion’s innovative digital display of Egypt’s unparalleled journey is attracting huge numbers of visitors keen to experience the country’s rich history and civilization and to get a taste of modern Egypt and all it has to offer. Visitors are treated to a journey through time in a virtual 3D experience accompanied by Ayda, a virtual guide. They get to wonderingly admire a genuine ancient Pharaonic coffin recently discovered in Saqqara in Giza, not to mention the beautiful replicas of King Tutankhamun’s golden mask, sarcophagus and golden throne. Egypt’s pavilion is simply one not to be missed!
The Mobility Pavilion, named Alef, the first letter of the Arabic alphabet and symbolising the beginning of progress and new horizons, occupies a dedicated plaza at the south entrance of the site. Its ribbed and curved shape was designed to evoke movement. Its highly reflective stainless-steel cladding was inspired by chrome fenders and aircraft wings and reflects the movement from the surrounding areas making the building seem alive and in motion. The visible lines of the building’s layers hint at how we are all connected, even when physically far apart. An amphitheatre and a second stage, as well as a piazza surrounding the building, will host mobility-related performances, events, symposiums and demonstrations.
Taking up a space of 13,059 sqm, the Saudi Arabia pavilion is the second largest at Expo 2020 Dubai. Designed by renowned architects, Boris Micka Associates, the pavilion offers a look into a future that focuses on sustainability and opportunities. With its four pillars representing people, nature, heritage and opportunities, the pavilion beautifully merges these elements to create an atmosphere of Saudi comfort and hospitality. Not to be missed is the pavilion’s Vision Space, where visitors get to marvel at an interactive globe created by a collective of 40 artists that takes visitors on a journey through Saudi Arabia’s creative scene. The pavilion also offers a unique perspective that changes from day to night, which includes a surprise that will keep guests on their toes.
An architectural wonder, designed by Spanish architect Santiago Calatrava, the UAE’s pavilion is shaped like a falcon, the UAE’s emblem. Visitor’s stand in awe before entering, taking in and fully admiring the grandeur of the structure that truly makes a statement not to be forgotten. With an overarching theme of globalization throughout, the pavilion impresses visitors with the country’s eminent position in international markets and its reputation as the world’s commercial capital. At the same time, the four floors of the pavilion beautifully provide an in-depth view of the culture and the people of the UAE, with an entire floor devoted to a display of the deeply ingrained and legendary Emirati hospitality.
Expo 2020 Dubai and Cartier collaborate to present the women’s pavilion that celebrates women. The Pavilion plays an exciting role in The World’s Greatest Show of human brilliance and achievement. In the spirit of Expo 2020, Dubai’s theme of “Connecting Minds, Creating the Future,” the Women’s Pavilion also spotlights the wealth of female expertise that is inspiring and empowering global citizens to create a better future. It takes visitors on an educational journey showcasing both male and female contributors to women’s empowerment and gender equality; highlighting important milestones for women’s rights, as well as the challenges that women are still facing today.
The Kuwait Pavilion relies on the five senses– touch, taste, hearing, sight and smell – all of which play a part in the pavilion. Located at the Sustainability District, the theme of the pavilion is “New Kuwait: New Opportunities for Sustainability.” The exhibit focuses on the future of Kuwait and the world, which begins with the youth. Designed by Italian architect Marco Pestalozzi, the pavilion is inspired by Kuwait’s sand dunes and its famed water towers, which represent Kuwait’s vast deserts and seaports. Kuwait’s pavilion features a handful of events that feature exhibitions, acts and speakers, all of which will showcase the past, present and future of Kuwait, by being in line with the Kuwait Vision 2035, also known as “New Kuwait.”
“Lightspeed Inspiration,” is the theme of the French pavilion, which highlights France’s many successes in its shift towards innovative eco-friendly and user-oriented mobility solutions. Located in the Mobility District, the pavilion also seeks to explore light as an enabler of progress, a vehicle for connections and a source of creativity. Designed as a link between France’s proud universal heritage and a more inclusive world for today, the pavilion highlights France’s solutions to build a more sustainable and more resilient world, in fulfilment of the United Nations 2030 Agenda. The France Pavilion welcomed a smashing 315,000 visitors since the Expo’s launch last month.
Italy’s pavilion is a creative and innovative design inspired by the theme, “beauty that connects people,” undertaken by Carlo Ratti, Italo Rota, Matteo Gatto and F&M Ingegneria. Commissioner General for Italy at Expo 2020 Dubai, Paolo Glisenti, stated that the pavilion is not only an exhibitive space but also a space that represents the height of Italian ingenuity. The pavilion demonstrates the country’s multidisciplinary skills, talent and ingenuity. It was created with contributions from several companies, who were called to provide the best building systems, technology and exhibition components demonstrating Italy’s highly innovative capabilities in sustainability, the circular economy and digital architecture.
The beautiful Palestine pavilion, designed by ASI Design Company, takes the visitor on an immersive sensory exploration of the country and its people that is truly enjoyable. Augmented reality goggles and scent-releasing urns evoke the atmosphere of the country and an immersive visual experience mimics a traditional Palestinian feast. The pavilion also recreates the feel of the Old City of Jerusalem, with its narrow alleyways and decorative arches and screens. Stone slabs imported from the city complete the effect. Illuminated pictures also illustrate the busy bazaars where Palestinians make a living selling textiles and souvenirs and where many bakeries sell their popular local bread.