Expo 2020 Dubai awards new Dh670m construction contracts, launches first global campaign

Mega-event to be marketed across video, print, digital, billboard platforms in run-up to 2020

Al Wasl pavilion. Courtesy Expo 2020 Dubai
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Expo 2020 Dubai on Tuesday awarded two new construction contracts worth a combined Dh670 million to UK-based building firm Laing O’Rourke, organisers said.

Under the terms of the contract, Laing O’Rourke will build the Leadership and Media Pavilions at the Expo site in Dubai South, the event’s ‘Hammerhead’ subterranean access road to the central Al Wasl Plaza, and landscaping works. It will also be responsible for carrying out associated mechanical, electrical and plumbing works.

“The company was selected from among strong international competitors due to its keen understanding of our technical and commercial requirements,” said Ahmed Al Khatib, senior vice-president of real estate and delivery at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Al Wasl Plaza forms the centerpiece of Expo 2020’s 4.38 square kilometer site. It has a diameter of 150 metres and will include a steel trellis dome – the contract for which has already been awarded to UAE engineering firm Cimolai Rimond Middle East.

Al Wasl pavilion. Courtesy Expo 2020 Dubai
Al Wasl pavilion. Courtesy Expo 2020 Dubai

The Leadership and Media Pavilions will be transformed into hotels after the event as part of legacy plans unveiled last year.

The six-month mega-event, which is scheduled to begin in October 2020, has been credited with boosting construction activity in the UAE.


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In November, Expo organisers said the event was on track to award a total of Dh11bn of construction-related tenders by the end of 2017.

Most of the projects are being built simultaneously, Mr Al Khatib said on Tuesday.

News of Laing O’Rourke’s contract comes as organisers kicked off the first global marketing campaign for Expo 2020 on Tuesday, to include television, digital, billboard, print and cinema advertising.

The campaign is intended to help raise international awareness of what will be the first World Expo in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region.

There will be coverage across the UAE and wider GCC, and selected activity in major international markets such as the US, UK and India, Expo said.

The campaign visuals use bold colours and the outlines of hands to depict objects such as Dubai’s Burj Khalifa, a lightbulb, the Earth and wind turbines.

Each image illustrates Expo’s central theme, ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future”. Branding agency Havas London oversaw the campaign, along with design duos Dom&Nic and Metz+Racine, which created the video and print campaigns, respectively.

“This campaign sets the stage for where we’ll be going in future campaigns. We don’t want people just to turn up to the event; we want people to join the journey up to 2020,” said Tareq Ghosheh, vice-president of marketing and communication at Expo 2020 Dubai.