The UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

Es Devlin designs the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai


“Innovating for a Shared Future” is the theme of the UK Pavilion, designed for the first time by a woman since 1851, when the first World Expo was held in London. British artist and designer Es Devlin has collaborated with structural engineer Atelier One, environmental design consultant Atelier Ten, executive architect Veretec and creative agency Avantgarde.

The pavilion is shaped like a giant 25-meter-high musical instrument; the cone-shaped structure is made of cross-laminated timber (CLT) to reduce its environmental impact.

Discover also the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai


Upon entering the pavilion, each visitor is invited to donate a word written in English and Arabic; the words will help generate a “Collective Message” in real time, illuminating the 20-meter diameter façade. The Message is generated thanks to an advanced machine learning algorithm, which creates an order in the messages.


A choral project that represents a country

“Algorithms are among us, they are an ever-growing part of our culture, their output is based on what they are trained on and who trains them. The pavilion is at once an expression of the ideal of a culturally diverse Britain that I grew up with, tempered with our growing awareness of the part algorithms play in shaping the future of our culture,” explained Es Devlin.

Within the pavilion, there will not be an exhibit. “The building is the exhibit,” explained Es Devlin. Instead of the exhibition, there is a curved void with walls covered in LED tiles, which will also display the words of the collective poem. The architecture of the pavilion’s interior is enhanced by a soundscape drawn from choirs from different ethnicities all over the UK.

Discover also the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai


The idea of Es Devlin’s Pavilion at Expo Dubai is to present the UK as a meeting place where ideas, cultures, languages and people from all over the world come together with a sense of openness and integration.

Its creation is an act of European and international collaboration. Each visitor, with a simple word, thus participates in a great collective poem, which expands from humanity to the universe. [Txt: Arianna Callocchia/Ph: Alin Constantin Photography, Ry Galloway, courtesy Es Devlin OBE]

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