Rows of elevated, curved timber slats persuade visitors at Expo 2020 Dubai to stop by the Baden-Wurttemberg house.
Surrounded by more than 190 nations that have constructed pavilions, the south-west German state known for the Black Forest national park is the only region to carve out a separate space for itself.
More than 70 tonnes of spruce were shipped to Dubai to build the pavilion, which showcases the latest technology in solar, software and medicine.
“This is our first time on our own at Expo. The federal states get a chance to introduce themselves in the German pavilion at Expos but we took the chance to say we want to do it ourselves,” Ulrich Kromer von Baerle, director of the Baden-Württemberg pavilion, told The National.
“Our idea coming here was to introduce ourselves. We want to show how strong Baden-Wurttemberg is, all the innovations we can offer to the world and the tourism destinations we have.
“We are happy with the response so far. On the first day alone we had 2,300 people come in here.”
Almost 40 per cent of the state is made up of large forests including the well-known Black Forest. The area gets its name from the dense canopy of trees and draws thousands of tourists and hikers every year.
Almost a third of new buildings in the state are made from wood, as the state has a tradition of timber construction.
“All the wood you see has been brought from the Black Forest,” he said.
“We wanted to show how you can build fully with wood in countries where wooden construction is not well known. There are a lot of sustainable experiments in building houses with wood in our country.”
The pavilion has a restaurant with chefs whipping up traditional dishes in live demonstrations on the terrace. They show visitors how to cook thick noodle spaetzle or maultaschen, a stuffed ravioli.
Ornate wooden cuckoo clocks line the walls of the restaurant that serves the popular cherry and chocolate Black Forest gateau.
Mr von Baerle said the Expo gave Baden-Württemberg a chance to connect with the world and show its industrial, automotive and tourism opportunities.
“The Expo is a unique chance after this period of Covid to personally meet again,” he said.
“After two years of lockdown people want to meet each other. It is the first time after this pandemic situation that we have this chance.
“I’m very positive because Expo is where people can come from all over the world to gather new ideas about other countries.”
The state government funded the bulk of the pavilion’s 17.7 million euro ($20m) budget with contributions from more than 30 companies.
It is unusual for a region to have its own pavilion but it made business sense for the German state that has a host of successful home-grown companies in the machinery and automotive industry.
About 120 companies, many with subsidiaries in Dubai, have kiosks in the pavilion with a view to introducing their products to the Arab world.
Andreas Lapp, chairman of the board of Lapp Holding AG, an engineering company that operates in sectors including rail, solar energy and robotics, said he was proud that Baden-Wurttemberg was the only federal state represented at the Expo in Dubai.
"Baden-Wurttemberg is an internationally networked industrial and technology location and has one of the highest export volumes compared with other states. We need to do everything we can to ensure that our business location remains successful," Mr Lapp said.
Rupert Plersch, president of KTI Group, a company that provides cooling systems to several skyscrapers including the Burj Khalifa said the world's fair was important to establish new global connections.
“Dubai will continue to be one of the most important hubs towards Asia, Australia and Africa,” he said.
“The Baden-Wurttemberg house gives us the unique opportunity to invite customers from the entire Gulf region.”