Together with Architects Sweden (the professional organization for architects, interior architects, landscape architects and spatial planners) the committee for Sweden’s participation at Expo 2020 in Dubai invited consortias to participate in a competition for the design of Sweden’s pavilion and its exhihbition at Expo 2020 in Dubai. The winning design proposal came from Stockholm-based Alessandro Ripellino Architects, Studio Adrien Gardère and Luigi Pardo Architetti.

The very essence of ‘the forest’ inspires the pavilion in its entirety, from its architectural sensibilities to its storytelling. The concept pervades the space, forming a powerful and cohesive sensation. Beautiful and enchanting, it is a fusion of dense Nordic woodland and Islamic geometric design, bringing together two cultures.

At ground level, public areas house the exhibition and café, while offices and conference rooms are raised aloft – like tree houses – forming a roof over parts of the pavilion. The exhibition area is open-plan, but enclosed spaces are implied and suggested, with hundreds of tree trunks standing in clusters.

The tree houses are clad with wooden lattice screens, offering shade from the sun. The impression and sense of room created by the trunks is intensified by a soaring mirror-clad structure, dividing the exhibition area. The result is refined and simple. This structure houses the conference entrance, which is well-placed near the Expo entrance.

The exhibition space is well-designed with a welcoming entrance that is carefully laid out to avoid any queuing issues; a clear path connects various zones and themes. The standing trunks create a special ambience, enclosing and dividing up space and forming backdrops and pillars. Strolling among the trunks, as if through glades or clearings in the forest, visitors can reach more enclosed spaces and rooms. A real sense of being outdoors adds to the whole experience of the pavilion.

There is space for co-creative communication with the exhibiting companies, on both the biocircular economy and the forestry industry – but the pavilion also provides room for all of the topics included in the programme. There is always something to discover, something to stimulate everyone’s curiosity. The strong concept gives a clear, but flexible, spatial framework that participating companies can follow in the continued process to finalise the exhibition’s content.

The Forest builds on a strong idea that the jury believes can give the project a unique identity and feel. The proposal has been perfectly executed, works on many levels and stands up to close scrutiny. The exterior, as it faces the Expo area, is consummated by a strongly designed interior, creating a very powerful overall experience.



Photo: Alessandro Ripellino Arkitekter/Studio Adrien Gardère/Luigi Pardo Architetti