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The UK has a 170-year Expo heritage, but its pavilion in Dubai promises to write a new chapter in history and is the country’s first designed by a woman.
Creativity and poetry are at the heart of the concept of the building by British designer Es Devlin, which resembles a giant horn.
Visitors can see poems lit by LEDs on a huge facade every minute of the day.
âBeing the first woman to design a pavilion, I felt the added weight of responsibility on my shoulders,â Ms. Devlin, 50, said.
âIt is difficult to express your country inside a building or a sculpture.
âSomeone told me when I was young that society doesn’t exist, just the individual. The opposite is true today and we are all collectives. “
Everyone who enters the building will be a part of its creation, Ms. Devlin said. The design of the pavilion took five years, with work starting in October 2019.
Visitors to give words
In a concept inspired by scientist Stephen Hawking, visitors to the UK pavilion will be asked to give a word that they believe describes humanity or life on Earth.
Advanced AI technology will use these words to generate poetic verses that combine to create a collective message. Ms. Devlin has been working with AI experts in California for five years to develop and train an algorithm for developing poetry.
The first word “dignity” was seized by Reem Al Hashimy, Minister of State for International Cooperation and Director General of Expo 2020.
Over 100 British poets have already contributed some 15,000 poems to the project.
âThe horn is like a call to action and invites everyone to come together,â Ms. Devlin said.
âThe visitors’ words will be part of a collective poem.
The 20-meter cone-shaped pavilion has rows of protruding slats that extend outward to form the circular facade.
“As you enter, visitors will hear a soundscape of voices from across the UK, including choirs from Norwich and Bradford, and chants from coastal sailors,” Ms Devlin said.
“Everyone is invited, and this is Britain that I came to know growing up, so there is common ground.”
Another theme of the UK Pavilion is Innovation for a Shared Future, connecting man, mind and machines.
The visitor’s journey will include a maze of aspirations, a choral space, a faÃ§ade for exhibitions, and a restaurant and bar called 1851, named after London’s first Expo event.
A UK business program on October 22 will look to the future by exploring everything from fashion to food, how we’ll live and learn, and what we’ll create in the years to come.
The future of travel is another key topic of a week of events starting November 9.
Speakers expected over the next few months include former politician Dr Tristram Hunt, now director of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, actor Robert Llewellyn, 2018 Global Teacher Prize winner Andria Zafirakou and chairman of AstraZeneca. UK Tom Keith-Roach.
A number of state visits are also planned with key politicians and ministers over the next six months.
The Red Arrows Acrobatic Demonstration Team will represent the UK at Expo 2020 Dubai with a spectacular 20-minute demonstration and flypast to celebrate the first week of the event at 4 p.m. on October 8.
The UK’s National Day will be celebrated with a special show on February 10.
âExpo is an amazing concept of the world in one place,â said UK Pavilion General Commissioner Laura Faulkner.
âWe are reinventing relationships with the rest of the world in new trade agreements and partnerships with businesses and in education.
âIt will be like putting on a Davos every day and a Glastonbury every night.
“We hope that the ripples started at the Expo will be felt for many years to come.”
The British Royal Air Force’s aerobatic team, the Red Arrows – in pictures
Updated: September 30, 2021, 08:13 AM