EXPO2020 Dubai UK Pavilion

The UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will be conceived by award-winning designer Es Devlin OBE and produced by global brand experience agency Avantgarde.

Known for creating stunning large-scale performative sculptures that fuse technology, poetry, light and sound, Devlin’s dramatic sculptural design for the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 is an imposing illuminated sculptural ‘Message to Space’ to which each of the Expo’s anticipated 25 million visitors will be invited to contribute.

The U.K. has an unparalleled record in Expo design: from instigating the very first Expo in 1851 to the recent breathtaking pavilions of Thomas Heatherwick, Wolfgang Buttress, Asif Kahn and Brian Eno: it’s a true honour to be invited to take part.

„The idea draws directly on one of Stephen Hawking’s final projects, ‘Breakthrough Message’, a global competition that Hawking and his colleagues 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 civilizations 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 A.I. technologies and poetry while transcending national identities?“

Devlin and her team of algorithm creators, sound and video designers are no strangers to Artificial Intelligence and mass audiences. Notable previous work includes:

  • Her luminous fluorescent red Fifth Lion sculpture roared A.I. generated collective poetry to crowds in Trafalgar Square during London Design Festival last week
  • The Singing Tree, her collective choral carol installation at the V&A, fused machine-learning with sound and light and was viewed by over ten million visitors during Christmas 2017
  • Her design for the London Olympic Closing Ceremony reached a global TV audience of one billion.

Global brand experience agency Avantgarde has been commissioned as the general design contractor by the Department of International Trade. In this role, the teams at Avantgarde will be responsible for the coordination, and overall creative production across interactive, exhibition and digital experiences, demonstrating their multidisciplinary capabilities.

Steve Austen Brown, creative director of Avantgarde says: “Having followed Es Devlin’s career through amazing theatre to high profile touring stage sets, I was intrigued to see her talk about unusual and unexpected collaborations at an event in London. Six months later we were looking at potential collaborators for the UK pavilion. There was honestly just one person on my list to be the lead designer. She would have a totally new perspective on the spectacle of Expo, and also be the first women to design the pavilion for the UK. I got in touch with Es and it is incredible to find ourselves at this point, with this fantastic design to deliver for 2020.”

Devlin and Avantgarde will join forces with Veretec as executive architects and globally-renowned Manchester-based structural engineers Atelier One and award-winning sustainability engineers Atelier Ten to deliver the complex sculptural architecture of the Pavilion which will highlight innovative and sustainable building techniques and materials.

The concept and design of the UK’s presence at EXPO 2020 Dubai – entitled VoiceSpace Pavilion, conceived and designed by Es Devlin OBE – will take the form of an imposing, illuminated sculptural ‘Message to Space’, to which each and every one of the EXPO’s estimated 25 million visitors will be invited to contribute. The dramatic sculptural design for the UK Pavilion will highlight leading British expertise in Artificial Intelligence and Space.

EXPO Dubai