Swiss Pavilion at Expo Dubai
October 1st, 2021 to March 31st, 2022
With Expo 2020 finally ending after six months, the Swiss Pavilion concludes its run as one of the most successful pavilions at the Expo- by welcoming 1.7 million visitors. The Pavilion’s mission at Expo was to promote Switzerland’s economic capacity and attractiveness to the UAE to establish stronger trade partnerships.
Entitled ‘Reflections’, the pavilion was designed by Swiss Project team OOS AG, Bellprat Partners AG and Lorenz Eugster Landscaping GmbH and boasted one of the most innovative designs in Expo. With a mirror façade that reflected the iconic red and white Swiss logo on the ground beneath it, the pavilion proved to be quite attractive among visitors.
The visitor magnet was the nature experience in the form of an artistically designed mountain panorama, which revealed itself after emerging from a sea of fog and showed selected tourist destinations in cooperation with Switzerland Tourism.
With over 150 events, the Swiss Pavilion was also an important platform at Expo 2020 Dubai to engage in dialogue with regional players from business, science and politics and to further deepen relations with the most important trading partner in the Middle East.
More than 50 Swiss companies used the pavilion for their own events and networking, including the three main partners, Rolex S.A., Schindler and Switzerland Tourism, as well as Clariant, Novartis, Nestlé, Roche, KGS. Sprüngli was represented with its own boutique and café.
A survey conducted at the pavilion among visitors shows that the pavilion made a good or very good impression on the vast majority. Particularly in the areas of innovation, tourism, sustainability and responsibility, as well as in relation to Swiss products, the pavilion’s visit had a positive effect on the perception of Switzerland.
Switzerland the first nation to join the Expo Dubai
Switzerland was the first nation to confirm its participation in the next World Expo, which took place in Dubai. It was the first world exhibition to be hosted by an Arab and Muslim country. Over 190 countries have signed up to take part in the Expo, whose theme is 'Connecting Minds, Creating the Future'.
Swiss Pavilions at previous Expos have always successfully differentiated themselves from the competitors through interactive content close to the visitor. Personal contacts with the pavilion staff allow a communication of our country through its people. Spaces in the pavilion are reserved for workshops and events allowing the eager visitor to engage with the various topics and learn even more.
The Swiss pavilion ‘Reflections’ revolved around reflecting key aspects of Switzerland’s culture, natural beauty and innovations, delivered through a series of interactive elements and images; the country’s breathtaking landscapes serving as a backdrop to Swiss solutions for a sustainable future, showcasing our technologies, innovations and scientific achievements.
Switzerland presented itself with an iconic cubic temporary structure inspired by the Bedouin tents. The construction, operation and maintenance of the pavilion all reflected the sustainable theme of the Expo, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. The pavilion itself was constructed from sustainably produced scaffolding elements and textiles, both easy to install and dismantle.
The Swiss project selected, Reflections, designed by Zurich-based architects OOS in collaboration with Bellprat Partner and Lorenz Eugster, made a bold architectural statement from the outside. From the inside, it offered a one-of-a-kind experience: as they pass through the pavilion, visitors not only experienced the beautiful Swiss landscape but learnt more about Switzerland as a country which is proud of its traditions and at the same time highly innovative.
Based on the concept of a journey, visitors experienced surprising facets of Switzerland by walking through the pavilion. In terms of content and dramaturgy, ‘Reflections’ was composed in three acts.
In the first act, the audience was invited, while waiting in line, to shape the facet ‘typically Swiss’ – interactively by means of reflection in a mirror. The journey continued inside the pavilion for the second act. Here a unique experience of nature was staged. The audience strived towards the dramaturgical climax: they walked uphill through real fog. Destination unknown. When emerging from the fog came the surprising view of an artistic interpretation of a mountain panorama. This authentic Swiss experience shook all the senses and left a biographical note for the visitors.
The third act covered the facet of an urban, sustainable and creative environment, reflecting Switzerland’s position as one of the most innovative and competitive countries in the world. The exhibition surprised visitors with one last sensory experience. They were invited to discover Swiss innovations and achievements by catching drops of water – from the sea of fog – and drawing knowledge from the fountains of innovation.
In the same area, in cooperation with Swissnex, Swiss partners and companies, the pavilion presented a number of temporary exhibitions reflecting Switzerland’s position as one of the most innovative and competitive countries in the world. True to the Expo theme ‘Connecting Minds – Creating the Future’, the three acts each communicate Switzerland’s strengths and opportunities in the fields of education, research, innovation and business.
The journey ended with an interpretation of Arab landscapes in the Wadi, with alluvial hills and individual vegetation groups. A special feature of this wadi landscape were the seating elements made of recycled concrete. Inspired by the Majlis seating culture, they created a place to stay and cultivate hospitality.
Swissnex - the global network connecting Switzerland and the world in education, research, and innovation - presented content based on the Expo focus weeks, which are linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
Swiss universities, start-ups and innovative companies showcased their research and inventions through temporary exhibits and presentations for the general public. In addition to this, panels, workshops, pitch contests and networking events took place at the event space and the rooftop terrace.
Its purpose was not only to promote the know-how of Swiss universities, startups and companies, but also to create joint events with local partners from the UAE and the wider region.
The Swiss pavilion did not fail to live up to its reputation for hospitality. The exhibition was complemented by a Sprüngli Boutique and Café and spaces on the rooftop reserved for private and public events. The visitors had the opportunity to experience Switzerland from its sweet side and enjoy a variety of Swiss chocolate at the “Sprüngli Café” and fresh drinks and bar food on the rooftop terrace.
Swiss Pavilion at Expo Dubai headlines
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