x Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 22 January 2018

UAE plans massive Milan Expo 2015 pavilion

A striking UAE pavilion encapsulating the nation’s success in overcoming difficulties to provide food and water for its population is being planned for the Milan Expo 2015.

The dune-shaped UAE pavilion is pictured at the site of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, where it won the popular vote. Philippe Lopez / AFP
The dune-shaped UAE pavilion is pictured at the site of the World Expo 2010 in Shanghai, where it won the popular vote. Philippe Lopez / AFP

DUBAI // A striking UAE pavilion encapsulating the nation’s success in overcoming difficulties to provide food and water for its population is being planned for the Milan Expo 2015.

Detailed planning is under way to incorporate the UAE’s theme of “Food for Thought” into a towering, weaving sand-walled structure.

Building will begin in spring, said Salem Al Ameri, the expo commissioner general.

The Milan Expo runs from May until October next year under the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. It focuses on access to food as a basic human right.

“The UAE pavilion will create something that will be quite unique and will reflect the UAE’s story in relation to food, water and energy,” Mr Al Ameri said.

“It is a story that people will be interested in hearing and most visitors will be from Italy, so we will make sure the story resonates among them.

“We have learnt a lot from previous expos in Yeosu [Korea] and Shanghai, and the Milan pavilion will be a combination of telling a story to reflect the UAE’s journey and a pavilion with which the visitors can truly engage.”

The UAE is among about 30 countries that have been handed over a site between Milan’s city centre and Malpensa airport. The pavilion will be ready by the end of this year.

“By the first half of 2015 we hope to begin tests to make sure the exhibition is running properly,” Mr Al Ameri said.

“We have recently received the site and, although we haven’t started construction, we have completed the first part of planning and are waiting approvals for the detailed plans.”

The UAE has made a strong impression at previous world fairs.

The country’s dramatic, maritime-themed pavilion won a silver medal at the 2012 Yeosu fair.

The National Media Council’s film The Turtle, shown at Yeosu, won medals at international film festivals.

It told the story of the nation’s turtle rehabilitation programme through the voice of an Emirati boy determined to fight the dangers of plastic bags after the death of a turtle.

A dune-shaped pavilion won the popular vote in Shanghai in 2010 and its pavilion for Hannover 2000 was among the top 10.

The Milan structure aims to be one of the biggest and has been designed by Foster and Partners.

Milan Expo expects to draw about 21 million visitors, with more than 120 countries participating.

Specifics of the UAE’s participation will be available during an online launch accessible on Tuesday at 2pm at www.expo2015uae.com, with speakers from London, Milan and Abu Dhabi unveiling details.

rtalwar@thenational.ae