British ministers are urging designers to enter a competition to create the UK Pavilion at the Dubai Expo in 2020 ahead of a deadline on April 30.
The £1.7 million design contract (Dh8.74 million) will be awarded to a multidisciplinary team who will be charged with creating a grand structure promoting British innovation within the 4.38 sq km expo site, located close to Dubai’s Al Maktoum International airport.
The deadline for applications was originally April 24, but has been extended to the end of the month, the Department of International Trade said.
International trade secretary Liam Fox said: “I’m urging UK creative businesses to showcase the best of Britain at Expo 2020 Dubai and enter our competition to design the next UK Pavilion.”
Transport secretary Chris Grayling also made a final appeal for talented designers to come forward.
Speaking during a visit to the UK Pavilion plot at the Expo 2020 construction site, Mr Grayling said:
“[The pavilion] is going to become a really fantastic showcase for the UK.”
He added that the government is looking for “the organisation that’s going to turn this into a real living experience of the UK showing the things that make us such a great country”.
“I’m sure [it] is going to be the best pavilion in the whole of Expo 2020.”
The DIT said the winning scheme will be aligned with the event’s main theme, which is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’. “We are seeking a dedicated, inventive, multidisciplinary creative team that will enable us to interpret the UK’s contribution to the theme, in a way which creates the most original, inspiring and memorable visitor experience possible,” the DIT said.
Britain has had a long track record of participation in expos. The first World Expo was held in 1851 at London's Crystal Palace and was known as The Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All Nations.
The UK has also had a number of high profile successes in international pavilions. Its pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, won the event’s top prize, the gold medal for pavilion design. Wolfgang Buttress' The Hive, the UK Pavilion built for the 2015 Milan Expo, also won a gold prize. And the UK Pavilion at Astana’s specialist 2017 Expo, designed by architect Asif Khan, was recognised in two of the top award categories.
Dubai was named the host city for the World Expo 2020 in November 2013. The city won by a resounding majority with 116 votes.
More than 180 countries are expected to take part in the event. It will be the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East and North Africa.
Each participating country will have its own pavilion, while there will also be a pavilion for each of the main themes - sustainability, mobility and opportunity. The UAE Pavilion is being designed by Santiago Calatrava and features the outline of a falcon.