Architecture – At Expo 2020 Dubai, “we sought to bring a fragment of Finnish nature to the UAE,” explains Teemu Kurkela, Founder and Creative Partner at JKMM Architects. “The Finland Pavilion was inspired by the thin white layer of first snow that covers the Finnish landscape at the beginning of winter.”
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Two cultures meet at the pavilion’s main entrance, which is inspired by a snow-capped Arabic tent. The tensioned industrial fabric’s pure white minimises solar gain and offers shelter from the sun. The fabric also refers to nomadic communities in the north of the Finland.
At the heart of the building is a central gorge-like space designed as a hub for face-to-face meetings. “Sculptural in nature, it is defined by its curved slatted-wooden surfaces and a large water droplet-shaped oculus.” The material’s gentle shaping and tactile quality continue the tradition of shaping wood found in iconic Finnish design classics and works of art.
Taking inspiration from the disk-shaped ice on Finland’s frozen lakes, low-carbon and 100 percent recyclable granite tiles are found inside the pavilion, as well as in and around the water features. The elements remind the climate change-related snow and ice-melt issue in Scandinavia.
Under the theme theme ‘Sharing Future Happiness,’ the building highlights the country’s commitment to sustainability and its deep connection with nature. Inside, looping around the central exhibition space, a 53-meter-long film display opens a window to see glimpses of life events of a girl growing up in the world’s happiest country. This full panoramic storyline is complemented by an immersive experience in the forms of a ceiling light installation, enlivening audio scape and carefully curated exhibits.
An exhibition design collaboration between Futudesign, Sun Effects, Flatlight Creative House and JKMM Architects communicates how symbiosis between people, pure nature and technology can lead to greater happiness.
Finland was the first nation to create a roadmap to a circular economy. Organisers have recently confirmed that the structure will remain in situ for a further five years, after which 80–85 percent of the materials used in its construction will be recycled and reused.
Photography is by © Mark Goodwin, courtesy of Finland Pavilion.