Expo 2020 Dubai, Dubai Expo, UK pavilion, Pavilion design, Es Devlin OBE

Es Devlin OBE to design Stephen Hawking-inspired UK Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai

London-based designer and artist Es Devlin OBE will design the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai to reflect "leading British expertise in artificial intelligence and space", according to a statement released by the artist. 

Titled 'The Poem Pavilion', the project will be produced by London and Dubai-based global brand agency Avantgarde. 

The pavilion directly draws inspiration from one of Stephen Hawking's final projects, 'Breakthrough Message', a global competition that Hawking and his colleagues created in 2015 which invited people worldwide to conceive a message that could be expressed to extraterrestrial life. 

"What if the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 becomes a place where visitors from all over the world take part in a collective global project that showcases British expertise in A.I. technologies and poetry while transcending national identities," Devlin added. 

Devlin and her team of algorithm creators, as well as sound and video designers, have previously worked on projects that explored artificial intelligence, including her 'Fifth Lion' sculpture and 'The Singing Tree' installation. 

Devlin is the first female designer of the UK pavilion and her team is predominantly women. 

"We urgently need to address the underrepresentation of women in STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) occupations," she said. "I've learned from my collaboration with the theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli that the evolution of scientific thought is often through the contribution of artists, musicians and philosophers, as well as physicists. My hope is that the fusion of architecture, poetry, music and science in this female-led project will attract and inspire girls and young women to investigate areas of science and technology that they might otherwise have felt weren't for them." 

Devlin and Avantgarde will be joined by structural engineers Atelier One, and sustainability engineers Atelier Ten to deliver the complex sculptural architecture of the pavilion.

While the pavilion will feature an illuminated maze that features augmented reality exhibits on British advances in space and robotics, the interior will be filled with a collective choral soundtrack featuring choirs from every continent. 

"The UK has an unparalleled record in Expo design," Devlin said, "from instigating the very first expo in 1851 to the recent breathtaking pavilions of Thomas Heatherwick, Wolfgang Buttress, Asif Khan and Brian Eno: it's a true honour to be invited to take part."