The Luxembourg pavilion at the Universal Exhibition in Dubai aims to provide an unforgettable experience to showcase Luxembourg to the whole world. The shape of the pavilion, which is representative of the circular economy, symbolises the openness and dynamism of the country.
In the distance, under the scorching sun of Dubai, a futuristic-looking building stands out in this arid landscape which encircles this city in the United Arab Emirates. It is here, on a 438-hectare plot in the city of Jebel Ali, that the Luxembourg pavilion is firmly anchored in the future alongside many other architectural gems that surround it on the World Expo site.
The immense event is divided into three arteries, each one dedicated to a general theme: "Opportunity", "Mobility" and "Sustainability". These themed areas, in which each participating country has built its respective pavilion, are dotted around the central square of Expo 2020.
The Luxembourg pavilion
The Luxembourg pavilion stands proud in the "Opportunity" district, the third sub-theme which is considered key to coming to terms with the challenges of tomorrow's world.
The shape of the structure, reflecting the main theme of the event "Connecting Minds, Building the Future", sends out a signal that will fashion the world of tomorrow. Its undulating silhouette, which blends seamlessly with the futuristic curves of other jewels on the exhibition site, is based on the idea of the Möbius strip. It offers an example of respect for the principles of the circular economy, symbolising the openness and dynamism of the country. However, it is through this central theme of Resourceful Luxembourg that the project sets out the vision of the Grand Duchy in terms of circularity and sustainable development.
The architects of the METAFORM studio are the creative minds behind this imposing edifice. The architectural design goes hand-in-hand with its impressive and immersive presence. The pavilion provides general information about the country and its people, the different sectors of the economy and daily life, and concludes its journey in a fun and heart-warming manner.
The material reflects the concept
Faithful to the notion of circularity of the event, the pavilion showcases the ambition of Luxembourg and the architects to embrace sustainable production of tomorrow. The building is 50 metres wide and 21 metres high, and its exterior is coated in easily recyclable materials.
This is why the pavilion has essentially been built in steel. However, this material was also chosen due to the highly irregular and complex shape of the building. This type of building geometry is difficult to create in any other material. Some of the steel has been produced by Arcelor Mittel. According to the architects, the objective was to use as few materials as possible.
The 2,100m2 foundations are made of concrete; the rest is made of insulation and plasterboard. The building can be dismantled without complications and all the materials can be separated easily.
However, there is a downside to this design. The envelope - the Möbius strip - of the structure is made of a reinforced glass fibre membrane, which is practically impossible to recycle. However, according to the architectural design office, the manufacturer has agreed to take back the membrane and reuse it.
Initially, they intended to use a PVC membrane, which would have been easy to recycle. However, the Dubai authorities placed certain fire-safety restrictions on the building. These restrictions apply to all large buildings in Dubai. Hence, a reinforced glass-fibre membrane was used.
The design delivers a beautiful visual representation
The Grand Duchy's pavilion at the Dubai Expo stands out from the crowd for all sorts of reasons and not only because it is the only one with a giant slide! Above all, it is through this futuristic pavilion that Luxembourg intends to light up this showpiece event. In other words, its presence in Dubai paves the way for the Grand Duchy to showcase its assets, diversity, history and innovation as well as its know-how in the field of ecological transition, connectivity and sustainability.
All these objectives are translated into an ambitious design that aims to present Luxembourg as an outstanding country with immense potential. The characteristics of the country are divided into five segments (diverse, connecting, sustainable, enterprising, beautiful), each one exhibited on the different floors of the pavilion.
From the upper floor of the pavilion, visitors can choose to descend to the ground floor via the stairs or the slide, a nod to the old Luxembourg tradition of the "Schueberfouer".
The shop and restaurant - the Schengen Lounge - are located on ground floor. The pavilion also houses a meeting room - Melusina - which takes its name from the founding myth of Luxembourg. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to tour the building. The pavilion has three floors and can hold 500 people.