Virtual journey from past to future at Expo 2020 Dubai Mobility Pavilion

Visitors will see giant photorealistic sculptures and learn about the UAE’s space programme

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Visitors will be taken on a virtual journey through time and space at Alif — The Mobility Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

It starts with an ancient settlement in the Dubai desert and ends with a glimpse of the future on Mars.

New details have been revealed of the pavilion, which will feature an immersive tour designed by Oscar-winning film creators.

Highlights include giant photorealistic sculptures (sculptures so detailed they look real), a huge elevating platform and features on the UAE’s space programme.

We hope that visitors, especially young Arabs, will leave this experience inspired - realising that anything is possible
Marjan Faraidooni, Expo 2020 Dubai

Visitors will “discover the pivotal role played by the UAE and the Arab world in advancing global mobility through the centuries”, starting 4,500 years ago in Saruq Al Hadid, a settlement in the Dubai desert.

The exhibition will illustrate the strategic importance of this area before transporting visitors to ninth-century Baghdad aboard the elevating platform.

From there, they will encounter 9-metre tall photorealistic figures from the golden age of Arab civilisation. These include ancient navigator Ibn Majid and celebrated explorer Ibn Battuta, whose innovations helped to increase global mobility through the centuries.

Their stories are used to explore the concept of mobility and highlight innovations from the Arab region that have led to advances in exploration.

The tour will then leap forward to the data-driven world of the 21st century before moving on to the city of the future.

Here, visitors will be given a glimpse of what to expect in the decades to come. They will explore the UAE's space programme and learn about the Hope Mission to Mars.

Marjan Faraidooni, chief experience officer at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Alif — The Mobility Pavilion will take visitors on a journey of discovery, exploring new horizons and discovering how making connections, together with developing new technologies, is the basis for human progress.

We are proud that this must-see pavilion celebrates the Arab world as a leading light in mobility across the ages, changing perceptions of what this region has achieved.

“We hope that visitors, especially young Arabs, will leave this experience inspired - realising that anything is possible, motivated to make a difference in our world and looking with optimism to a future when we connect and work together on a global scale.”

An extraordinary exterior

Alif - The Mobility Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Photo: Expo 2020 Dubai

The ribbed and curved shape of the pavilion was designed by award-winning British architectural design and engineering firm Foster + Partners.

With highly polished stainless-steel cladding, the building reflects the movement of passers-by.

Alif — The Mobility Pavilion is one of three Thematic Pavilions that explore Expo 2020’s key sub-themes — Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability.

Expo 2020 Dubai is due to open on Friday, after the world's fair was delayed by Covid-19. The event will run for six months and organisers hope to attract 25 million visitors.

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Updated: October 11, 2021, 8:47 AM