The expo since the 1850s has provided a canvas for global innovators to delineate what they believe could be the future and pave our way from now to then with these innovations and inventions. It’s a worldwide fair that takes place every 5 years for a duration of 6 months in a specific bid venue. This canvas of opportunity not only allows various countries to showcase their futuristic landmarks but also allows people coming from different backgrounds to collaborate and understand the diversity of the exhibit. The expo has been conducted in various venues, Paris has been a host for 6 times followed by Brussels 4 times and the last one was in Milan in 2015. Dubai becomes the first-ever country in South Asia, Middle East, and Africa to host the upcoming expo. It was supposed to begin in October 2020, but unfortunately due to the pandemic, it has been pushed by a year but with the same 2020 tag.
Dubai won the bid to host this iconic exhibition on 27 November 2013. It was an important landmark for the emirate, the entire city celebrated this day and declared it a national holiday. Ever since the city has just been focused to create an experiential bubble of ecstatic innovations and inventions. The expo welcomes 190+ countries to exhibit, it will be the largest fair recorded. Every expo has an iconic centrepiece that behaves as a beacon and dictates an innovative landmark for the host country. The Eiffel tower, Crystal Palace, The Atomium, and the Space needle are some examples. In Dubai, Al Wasl Plaza is going to be the centrepiece. It is the world’s largest unsupported dome. The structure will continue to exist after the expo and become an iconic hub in District 2020.
Another interesting aspect of the expo is that the participating countries are allowed to create their own dynamic pavilions to depict their culture and uniqueness through design. The expo always focuses on themes. This year’s theme is ‘ Connecting Minds and Creating the future’. The 4.38 sq.km District site has been subdivided based on themes:
- Mobility District: describes any sense of progress, physical or metaphorical but with a clear connection to the roots (history).
- Sustainability District: focuses on preserving our environment and how we could mend our mistakes in the past.
- Opportunity District: creating a foreground for different cultures with a common focus of responsibility. The prime focus would be basic human needs.
The country pavilions fall under one of the above-mentioned districts and correspond to the said theme concerning design.
The Japan Pavilion:
It falls under the Opportunity district. Their personalized theme for the pavilion ‘Where ideas meet’. It reflects Japan and its symbolic connection of how ideas from the outside have been embraced, reinterpreted, and turned into a unique new form by the Japanese. They believe to move towards a future where Japan could continue to be a landmark where ideas from across the globe meet.
The exhibit aims to enhance Japan’s prominence globally, increase the demand of Japanese industries, popularise tourism, and also carry on the legacy of the expo.
The facade of the pavilion is based on the traditional Origami concept. The art of folding paper has a cultural connection and is not just an artistic expression. The Japanese have a ritual of wrapping offerings to the god. This ritual continued to be a part of any of their celebrations, like weddings and other occasions. This native technique combined with technology brings a unique sense of style to the facade creating a geometrical 3D latticework. The colour tone of the facade is kept neutral with a white tone. The shape of the individual origami units is inspired by the Arabesque and Asanoha patterns. This coherent pattern formed by the combination of two cultures depicts their long-term relationship. The facade covers the pavilion. There is a water body outside. The reason for incorporating a water body right in front of the exhibit is to naturally cool the area and also reflect the massive expanse of the facade, creating an infinite expression of form.
The facade is designed by Yuko Nagayama & Associates. Yuko Nagayama, the director, has a degree in life and environmental sciences. Her celebrated works include Kyoto Daimaru Louis Vuitton store, Anteprima, and the Goddess of the forest central garden.
The principle idea of concept began in two parts, one with a cultural connection for the facade between the two nations and another with technological similarity with respect to the structure and environmental filter. As the preceding hosts of the expo 2025, another fascinating approach to the pavilion is the ‘Join.Sync.Act’ concept which promotes the nation’s vibrant art, culture and technology to the visitors.
The expo is all set to begin this year with a lot of groundbreaking exhibits and experiences that have a huge impact on the near future and how we as individuals could procreate to the upcoming chapters of existence.