Expo 2020, Dubai Expo, Country pavilions, Pavilion design, Design competitions, Expo 2020 Amphitheatre

Invitalia launches design competition for Expo 2020 Dubai's Al Forsan Amphitheatre

A contest has been launched to design the stage of Expo 2020 Dubai’s Al Forsan Amphitheatre, which will be located in front of the Italy Pavilion – a structure that has received mixed reactions from the global architecture community.

Al Forsan Amphitheatre will also be close to Italy Pavilion’s fellow structures from India, Germany, the US, Japan, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, and near the Sustainability and Opportunity districts of Expo 2020 Dubai, which opens its doors on 20 October next year.

According to Construction Week, the stage will be large enough for use by up to 80 performers, with the amphitheatre’s capacity including 4,000 standing and 2,500 seated viewers.

The design contest was launched by Italy’s General Commissioner’s Office and Invitalia, which is the office’s central procurement body.

Architects and designers – including stage specialists and entities from Italy – are invited to participate in the contest. Prizes will be awarded to the top three winners, and special mentions may be granted, but without prizes or refunds, for particularly innovative or technically impressive concepts.

According to Italian news agency, Ansa, the deadline to submit ideas for the project is within 30 days, and procurement information is available on its website.

Expo 2020 Dubai’s Italy Pavilion – which features three overturned ships on its roof as part of its design – has been criticised by some in the Italian design community for its appearance.

In an Artribune interview cited by The Italian Commissioner’s Office on 23 March, the pavilion’s designers responded: “[Italy] always takes a while to get up to speed. Remember Expo Milano 2015? It started off mired in controversy but went on to become the success we all know. We’re sure that’s how it will be this time as well.

“Looking at it from a methodological point of view, architecture is supposed to provoke debate. We’re big fans of the idea of “critical design”, developed in recent years by Anthony Dunne and Fiona Ruby – the notion of design as a process that can stimulate public debate. So, we welcome suggestions, encouragement, and criticism; they help us improve.”