Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 1 October 2020

The futuristic design and informative features have Italians and tourists in raptures about the pavilion representing the UAE.
Yixing  Wang, centre, and her parents Yali Li, left, and Lei Wang at the UAE Pavillion. Daniel Bardsley for The National
Yixing Wang, centre, and her parents Yali Li, left, and Lei Wang at the UAE Pavillion. Daniel Bardsley for The National

MILAN // With its dramatic design, hi-tech displays and a mixture of innovation and tradition, the UAE pavilion has made a big impression on visitors.

Some of the first members of the public to experience it on Friday said it was one of the highlights of their visit.

The pavilion features a specially made film, a virtual reality presentation by an Emirati girl, a section on the date palm and a display on the importance of business for Dubai.

Mario Vecchio, a 19-year-old economics and finance student who lives in Milan, said the pavilion showed the UAE to be developmentally advanced.

“I think they are more forward than us. They are the future. I cannot imagine what the Expo 2020 in Dubai will be like,” he said.

Among the notable features of the pavilion is a film that shows Dubai’s dramatic skyline emerging from the sands of the desert. It also shows models of parts of Dubai, such as Sheikh Zayed Road, demonstrating how the city has developed.

Mr Vecchio’s view of the pavilion was echoed by his cousin, Manlio Colasberna, a 19-year-old medical student. “I think [the UAE pavilion] is probably the best in the expo because the other pavilions are less futuristic,” he said.

“I want to go to the Dubai Expo because the future and technology are my passion.”

For some visitors, seeing the pavilion gave them a chance to learn about the UAE.

“Before I came here I didn’t know about the country … I just thought it was a very rich country,” said Wang Yixing, 15, from Beijing.

She said the film showed the difficulty facing the UAE in providing water for its residents, a problem she had not realised.

The striking pavilion architecture, the work of British firm Foster + Partners, drew the attention of Chris Stocker, 26, an electrical engineer from Austria.

“I was wondering how they built these shapes. I was impressed what they could do,” he said, referring to the shimmering red walls of the pavilion, which mirror the colours of a desert in sunrise or sunset.

The UAE pavilion was “very informative” compared to some of the other country pavilions, said Omar Farooq, 39, a Pakistani professor of management and sustainable development in France. “You understand the history … it’s very good.


Expo facts:

Milan Expo

- Held under the theme of “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”

- 20 million visitors forecast, with 70 per cent expected to be Italians

- Expo site covers about 110 hectares (272 acres)

- €1.45 billion invested in the site

- €25 billion total revenue expected

- Construction work began in October 2011

- Exhibitions and delegations from 140 countries

- 60 corporate participants

- Five theme areas: zero pavilion, biodiversity park, future food district, food in art and sustainable food pavilion

- Runs from May 1, 2015 to October 31, 2015

- Mascot is “Foody”, who is made up of 11 types of fruit and vegetable and is “a real fan of healthy, tasty food”

- Milan previously held an expo in 1906.

World Expo Facts

- First expo was held in London in 1851

- Eiffel Tower was built for the Paris Expo of 1889

- Managed by the International Bureau of Expositions, which has more than 160 member countries

- Last World Expo was held in Shanghai in 2010; it was the largest expo in history at 1,300 acres

- Next World Expo will be in Dubai in 2020

- All-time attendance record is held by Shanghai – 73 million visitors.

Updated: May 1, 2015 04:00 AM

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