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Metaform and The Space Factory win competition to design Luxembourg pavilion for Expo Dubai 2020

Metaform architects together with The Space Factory scenographers win the competition for Luxembourg Pavilion at the World Expo 2020 in Dubai.

The theme designated for the Luxembourg’s pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 is “Opportunity” and reflects the history of Luxembourg, its present and future. According to the design team, “the proposed pavilion is like the country: small and ambitious, intriguing and reassuring, and above all generous and open”.

The formal proposition is inspired by a Möbius strip, where twisting and folding of a ribbon results in one single surface, with no beginning and no end, symbolising an infinity, and in the particular context of ‘cradle to cradle’, the circular economy. The pavilion is modeled and organised around this principle, while partial optimiaation of the width of a ribbon creates a needed shade and protection.

A setback is created between the main walking street and the building itself, thus creating certain distance and space, allowing for the clear perception of the whole. The experience starts at the waiting line. A ramp, as a sort of a red carpet, as a guide invites the visitor to discover, leading the way between the inside and the outside skin of the building.

The limit between interior and exterior is blurred. The single face of the ribbon is at one time a floor, a wall, a ceiling, hence the multilayered scenography canvas. Altogether, a continuous flux of images and people is being distributed from the starting point to the top second floor.

Scenography and architecture are complementary, allowing the visitor to merge with the exhibition. In didactic, interactive and intuitive way, different projections and animations show the country and its inhabitants.

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The ground floor accommodates the storage area accessible from the back, restrooms, VIP suite and administration unit with the visibility over the central area, and the restaurant with an open kitchen and the gift shop oriented towards the front area.

The first floor, accessible directly from the main ramp, is a multi-functional space. In case of a concert, reception, conference, the side door is closed, and the ramp guides visitors without interruption towards the top.

In case of a temporary exhibition, the door serves as a barrier, and the indoor space becomes an intuitive part of the flow. The second floor is the highest reaching point, dedicated to the space themed exhibition. To reach the earth again, the visitor is faced with three choices: stairs and elevator as a rather conventional ones, and a slide through the picturesque green patio, as a fun one.

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The journey from the bottom to the top is continuous but constantly changing. The visitor is moving between inner and outer protective skins, hence the feeling of being in and out at the same time. The proportions of the space change constantly, in terms of width, height, depth, view, perspective. Due to its very particular and unique landscape, Luxembourg City offers similar changes in perception.

As designers explain, the aim was to give a hint of this experience while moving inside the pavilion too. At the same time, visual connections are created on different levels and between different stages, ambiances and attitudes of people, enhancing curiosity.

Fast facts:

Architects: Metaform architects

Scenography: The Space Factory

Gross floor area: 2100 m²

Gross volume: 13.900 m³

Year: 2017-2019

Awards: 1st prize in Dubai Expo2020 Competition for Luxembourg Pavilion