British artist Es Devlin OBE will design the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, expected to be visited by 25 million people in 6 months from October 2020 to April 2021. Es Devlin was announced the winner on 27 September 2018.
The Pavilion will be the centrepiece of the UK's presence at the Expo, giving the UK the chance to strengthen its soft power and reputation on the world stage as well as attracting trade, tourism and students to the country. London and Dubai-based global experience agency Avantgarde will produce the Pavilion which is being led by the Department for International Trade with cross-government support. Manchester-based structural engineers Atelier One and sustainability experts Atelier Ten will join Es Devlin and Avantgarde.
Visitors will visit three key areas, entering through the Maze of Aspiration with illuminated displays showing the UK's expertise in artificial intelligence and aerospace, which leads to the spherical Choral Space with its immersive soundscape and chance to contibute a single word to an algorithmic poem displayed for all to see across the Expo. The final area is the Speech Space, where visitors can see their contribution to the collective message.
Es Devlin said: "The idea draws directly on one of Stephen Hawking's final projects, 'Breakthrough Message', a global competition..conceived in 2015 inviting people worldwide to consider what message we would communicate to express ourselves as a planet, should we one day encounter other advanced civilisations in space."
"What if the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 became a place where visitors from all over the world chose to take part in a collective global project that showcases British expertise in AI technologies and poetry while transcending national identities?"
Es Devlin's creativity has graced stages for theatre productions and musical acts, as well as within her own sculptures. She has designed sets for Kaney West, Jay-Z, Beyoncé, Adele, The Rolling Stones, U2, Stormzy, Louis Vuitton, MTV European Music Awards, The Brit Awards, National Theatre, Sadler's Wells, Royal Opera House, Complicité, Royal Court, Almeida, and elements of the London 2012 Olympic Games Closing Ceremony among many more. She has won three Olivier Awards and the 2017 London Design Medal. Her latest work, Please Feed the Lions, was displayed in Trafalgar Square for the London Design Biennale 2018.
Secretary of State for International Trade, Liam Fox MP, said: "The quality of design proposals we received for the UK Pavilion were testament to the UK's world leading creative talent and I'm confident Es Devlin OBE and the team will help us take advantage of this unique opportunity to showcase the very best of British to a truly global audience."
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Image: Courtesy of the UK’s Department for International Trade © Es Devlin