Courtesy of Santiago Calatrava

UAE Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

National Media Council of the UAE

We partnered with experience architects Kossmanndejong to co-design the guest experience for the United Arab Emirates’ Host Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, crafting a multi-sensory guest experience celebrating the country’s past, present and future. Our shared vision was to tell an authentic story that would help guests see the humble roots and the core values that drive the UAE’s breakthrough achievements and its vision for the future.

Welcome to the ‘Land of Dreamers Who Do’.

Visitors take a multi-sensory journey within Santiago Calatrava’s magnificent falcon-inspired building through eight interactive and immersive sections: each one telling a different chapter of the nation’s story, bringing to life the rich nuances of Emirati culture and values.

We looked beyond the region’s famed desert landscapes for inspiration to create an intimate experience that not only embodies the heart of a nation, but makes it relatable to the rest of the world on a massive scale.

“From the very beginning this has been a deeply personal journey, and a close and honest collaboration with local and global talent to develop the installations ” says Tellart Founder & Chief Design Officer Matt Cottam. “Our work was guided by deep research into cultural heritage and intangible heritage guidance from UAE storytelling experts. We were truly inspired by intergenerational relationships and the sense of shared cultural identity and values. Our use of emerging technologies enabled us to translate this feeling of unity, and the truth of their nation’s collective progress in a sensorial, affecting way.” 

The result is interactive and experiential, each area free to explore and open to personal interpretation. This is a world where historical trade routes are projection mapped using 700 artefacts, and the future appears as a dreamy, rippling mirage. Here, everyone is equal, and strangers must work in unity to see the bigger picture. 

“The UAE Pavilion reflects the resilient and ambitious spirit of the UAE. It is an open invitation to dream and inspire you to make those dreams come true. To those who are new to our country, we invite you to learn about our rich culture and the inspiring leaders who built a proud and ambitious nation. Upon entering the Pavilion it takes you on a journey that highlights a vivid past, the achievements of the present and a future that is built by all those who call the U.A.E home. Thanks to the outstanding efforts of the teams involved, all the right elements have been put together to make touring the Pavilion an exceptional multisensory experience that is hard to forget." says HE Noura bint Mohammad Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth and Commissioner General of the UAE Pavilion. 

Expo 2020 Dubai is enabled by the UAE’s Ministry of Culture and Youth and executed by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs National Projects Office. The event, which brings together 191 countries in a celebration of art, music, architecture, sports, science and culture will be held at Dubai Exhibition Centre from October 1 2021—March 31 2022. More information can be found at: 

Project Data


• Expo 2020 will be the first Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia.
• Open to the public from 01 October 2021 - 31 March 2022.
• Building designed by Santiago Calatrava.
• Expo 2020 Dubai expects 25 million visits over the six months, with approximately 70 percent of visitors expected to come from outside the UAE.


Calatrava (ES) - Architecture 
Tellart + Kossmanndejong (NL) - Guest experience design & Creative guardianship Lest We Forget (UAE) - Archival research 
Waho (UAE) - Landscape design 
Nexus Studios (UK), directors Smith & Foulkes - 2D animation and Interactive installation Factory Fifteen (UK) - 3D animation 
Onion lab (ES) - Installation 
YesYesNo (VS) - Interactive installation 
Field (DE) - CG artworks 
Boomtown (UAE), director Ted Beagles - film production 
Serena (ES) - Post production 
Matthew Herbert (UK) - Musical composition & soundscapes 
Resonate (SA) - Sound design 
Mohammed Somji (UAE) - Photography
Ammar Al Hattar (UAE) - Photography, film 
Mahra Almehairi (UAE) - Photography, film 
Tinkah (UAE) - Graphic Consultant 
Obaid AlBudoor (UAE) - Photography 
Mövement Strategy (UK) - Visitor flow analysis 
HeinzLoopstra (NL) - Lighting design interior 
Sisi (NL) - Lighting design exterior

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