Climb every mountain: how the Swiss pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is a symbol of recovery from Covid-19


Visitors will walk into a cloud of fog as they replicate the feeling of hiking to the summit of a Swiss mountain at Expo 2020 Dubai, in a symbol of revival from the coronavirus pandemic.

Recreating a message of hope in difficult times, architects and engineers are readying a unique experience at the Swiss pavilion on the Dubai South Expo site.

A hill is being built from recycled stone and high-tech sound and visuals will be added to recreate a mountain top panoramic view.

The pavilion reached a major milestone on Monday with structural work completed.

Switzerland was the first country to confirm participation in the Expo 2020 in Dubai way back in April 2016.

The Swiss Expo 2020 pavilion at Dubai. Courtesy: Swiss Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai    
The Swiss Expo 2020 pavilion at Dubai. Courtesy: Swiss Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai    

Five years on, organisers say the 8.5million Swiss franc project is central to the country’s resurgence efforts.

“In these difficult times for our export economy, our pavilion is a symbol and a driving force for the recovery we all need,” Manuel Salchli, commissioner general of the Swiss pavilion

at Expo 2020 Dubai, told The National.

“The current health crisis has made us realise that we have to place greater emphasis on the value of solidarity and on international co-operation. As a result, Expo 2020 Dubai has turned into an essential global exchange platform.

“In these circumstances the Swiss pavilion activities are becoming even more valuable.”

The planners promise a real-fog with “millions of droplets forming a cloud above the ground.”

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The steel frame building also makes uses of recycled concrete and large mirror panels to build on ‘reflections’ that is one of the pavilion’s core themes.

“We will stage a unique experience of nature. Visitors will walk into a real sea of fog. This fog will give way to a sound and light show reproducing the passage from day to night over the Swiss Alps,” Mr Salchli said.

“The idea behind the sea of fog is inspired by a very unique and typical moment that we often experience in fall in Switzerland: hiking through a sea of fog and feel this especial emotion as the beautiful mountains panorama come into view.”

When visitors first approach the pavilion, they will see a large mirror façade and a red carpet followed by the walk into the fog.

Expo guests will be fed fun facts including that the chocolate-loving Swiss eat about 10.3kg of chocolate per person per year.

Tasting is on the cards at the end of the tour with a cafe set up by Swiss chocolate maker Sprüngli.

The tour will also display a series of exhibitions on Swiss innovation in line with Expo Dubai’s themes of connecting the planet and people via opportunity and sustainability.

There are also plans for visits from the academic community and start-ups in Switzerland.

Work on the interior design, landscaping will be completed over the next few months with final construction completed by the end of August in time for the October opening of the Dubai Expo.

Published: March 30, 2021 07:00 AM