Titled The Forest, Sweden has created its pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai around the concept of the forest as a metaphor for creation. It’s located in the Sustainability area of the event and is one of three themed pavilions, including Earth – The Sustainability Pavilion, with its futuristic architecture designed by Grimshaw and featured in The Plan 134.
The forest is, in fact, the “secret” ingredient that inspires Sweden to develop its truly sustainable, green architecture. The pavilion itself, built entirely of wood, was designed by Alessandro Ripellino Arkitekter from Adrien Gardère and Luigi Pardo Architetti, saving at least a thousand tons in carbon dioxide. The building is characterized by its structure of wooden pillars, sourced from the forests of Dalarna, which creates the impression of walking through a Swedish forest, while also acting as a kind of refuge for a growing ecosystem. Getting visitors involved the moment they step inside, and showing them the ways that Sweden is building smart cities and developing a bio-circular economy, the pavilion is an interesting concept. It offers a chance to get direct experience with one of the most innovative construction philosophies in the world.
The first impression you get when walking through the Swedish pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is that you’ve stepped into a fusion of dense Nordic woodlands and Islamic geometric design. In other words, this is a pavilion that literally unites two cultures. The exhibition itself and cafe are both at ground level, while the offices and conference rooms are raised – like tree houses – forming a roof over sections of the pavilion. The tree houses have wooden lattice screen walls, which provide sunshading. The sense of space created by the tree trunks is heightened by a soaring structure covered with mirrors, which breaks up the exhibition area.
The exhibition space is well designed, with an inviting entrance and a clear pathway between the different themed areas of the event. The vertical tree trunks create a special environment, enclosing and organizing the space and forming a backdrop. Walking through them – as if through forest clearings – visitors are led to more enclosed areas, creating the feeling of coming in from outdoors.
Photography by Jon Wallis, courtesy Expo 2020 Sweden