Determined to make an impact, international governments have set aside millions in their efforts to impress at Expo 2020 Dubai.
With huge budgets and even larger ambition, officials hope their pavilions - some costing upwards of $50 million - will stand out from the crowd.
From Germany, one of the world’s largest economies, to Monaco, a tiny city-state, authorities say the sizable investments will be well worth it.
The global event, described as “groundbreaking” by organisers, is set to draw more than 25 million visitors to the UAE over just six months.
“Expos have always represented a showcase of innovation and human inspiration,” said Dietmar Schmitz, commissioner general of the German pavilion.
“In the 21st globalised century, growth does not result from industrial development but it is driven by interwoven ideas and connected people.
“Participation in every Expo represents for Germany an unrivalled chance to be able to contribute to these important fora…. with the aim of hopefully contributing to the progressing of humankind.”
Expo 2020 Dubai will kick off on October 20 next year. World-leaders in science and innovation will descend on the city to soak up its vision and insight.
For its part, India has allocated a vast $50 million budget to build their elaborate exhibition with the help of a movie set designer.
The four-storey construction across a 1.2-acre plot will feature a gigantic image of Mahatma Gandhi and will be a permanent installation at the site.
“The aim is to use modern technology to convey an ancient civilisation and the dynamic new India,” said Navdeep Suri, India’s outgoing ambassador to the UAE.
“The creative inputs of a famous Bollywood personality who does major movie set designs will be welcome since his company runs cutting-edge digital projections.”
Countries such as France also view the global exhibition as a platform for their companies to forge new partnerships.
For their Monet-inspired pavilion, officials will spend an estimated €28 million, twice the amount the country spent at the Milan Expo four years ago.
This time, however, more than 80 per cent of energy consumed by the site will be produced by colourful solar panels attached to its roof and façade.
Erik Linquier, chairman of Cofrex, the firm implementing the project, said the €20 million government allocation would be supplemented by contributions from French firms.
“For France, Expo 2020 will be an opportunity to showcase a bold and positive vision of tomorrow’s world,” said Mr Linquier.
“It will serve as a concrete tool for French companies and all those who innovate; a platform for boosting the international development of all stakeholders, particularly in Africa, the Middle East and Asia.”
Expo budgets include the pavilion concept, construction, retail and food units, organisation of multiple events and the dismantling of the structure.
Participants such as Monaco have already put out adverts for staff, including guides, engineers and a sales team.
The principality's budget may be smaller at €9 million, but it has big plans for an extensive solar-powered structure.
“Our concept is to finish the core and shell of the pavilion by April 2020 in order for us to connect to the grid before the expo period,” said Albert Croesi, commissioner general.
“This way we will be able to produce electricity with our solar panels for one year and use power to operate the pavilion during [the] six months.”
The polygonal shape using photovoltaic panels evokes a kaleidoscope and the famous Le Rocher, or steep rock of Monaco that looks over the Mediterranean.
“It aims to show the many facets of the principality: characteristics, professions, multiple perspectives, diversity,” he said.
With a resident population of just 36,000 people, Monaco will deploy design to show it is a smart city.
“Three main topics are reflected in all our messages of Monaco 360° through its history and tradition, science and research, luxury and hospitality as well as art and culture,” Mr Croesi said.
“We believe that an event such as Expo 2020 Dubai is the perfect place to raise awareness, meet counterparts and share these environmental concerns.”
From cones made from ancient soil to paper birds, pavilion dreams will soon be a reality
Austria: Will build a pavilion of overturned cones from a 9,000-year-old soil called loam containing silt and clay that will provide ventilation and house workshops and installations.
Theme: Every Good Idea Begins with the Right Question.
Canada: Promises an immersive journey in a 360-degree theatre through the country's past, present and future. Inspired by Canadian landscape and Arabic architecture, it is a symbol of strong cultural and economic ties between the nations.
Theme: The Future in Mind.
Czech Republic: Will showcase technology that promises to transform a desert into an oasis. At the centrepiece, it will display a solar-powered device that extricates water vapour from the air that creates fertile land in barren conditions.
Theme: Czech Spring.
Japan: As the next expo host nation, the pavilion will welcome guests with traditional origami shapes. Apart from traditional hospitality, the pavilion will feature high-tech entertainment.
Theme: Join. Sync. Act.
South Korea: Promises to wow visitors with a constantly changing design through the use of rotating cubes. The structure will explore how mobility is set to change our lives. The famous K-pop music will be an added draw.
Theme: Smart Korea, Moving the World to You.
Morocco: The architecture of the walled, old quarter will be brought to life with a ramp and shaded patios that will use a combination of new and ancient construction techniques.
Theme: A Kingdom of Inspiration.
Oman: The exterior will resemble the tree that produces frankincense and has played a important role in the nation's development. The pavilion will have five zones detailing how the precious resin has benefited Oman from medicine food to cosmetics.
Theme: Opportunities over Time.
Poland: The tree-like structure will have thousands of paper birds hovering around it as a reference to large-scale migration of birds. This will explore the country's diverse global connections as part of the expo theme of mobility.
Theme: Creativity Inspired by Nature.
Saudi Arabia: It will resemble a gigantic open window to show transformation within the country. The pavilion will demonstrate how the nation is balancing a rich heritage, natural wonders with the energy and creativity of its people.
Theme: The sky is the limit.
Singapore: A green space topped with a hanging garden, tall cones, a canopy walk filled with the sounds of nature. The pavilion will recreate the city state's greenery within an urban setting in an area that will be cooled with a fine mist.
Theme: Nature. Nurture. Future.
Sweden: Wander around wooden tree trunks in a Scandinavian woodland that fuses Islamic geometric design. The pavilion will tell visitors how Sweden is building smart cities and developing the next generation of travel.
Theme: Co-Creation for Innovation.
UK: Inspired by a project from the late scientist Stephen Hawking in which he wondered how people on Earth would express themselves to an extra-terrestrial civilisation. Visitors can add words to a constantly changing poem that will be beamed on exterior panels.
Theme: Innovating for a shared future.
UAE: Designed in the shape of a falcon in flight, the UAE pavilion will be a major attraction. Spread over four-storeys, it will capture the nation's history and the vision of its leaders to create a peaceful society.
Theme: Sustainability, mobility and opportunity.