The project selected, Reflections, designed by OOS, Bellprat Partner and Lorenz Eugster, makes a bold architectural statement from the outside. From the inside, it offers a one-of-a-kind experience. As they pass through the pavilion, visitors will not only experience the beautiful Swiss landscape, but also learn more about Switzerland as a country that is proud of its traditions and at the same time highly innovative.
The Swiss Pavilion presents itself with an iconic cubic temporary structure. The spatial implementation of the pavilion is a reference to temporary Bedouin tent buildings. The tent stands on an old wadi, a dried up river in the desert. It is surrounded by a green framework of date palms up to 9m high. The body of the building combines tradition and innovation, sketches relationships between East and West and creates a unique presence: the funnel-shaped mirrored front of the pavilion serves both as a spectacular eye-catcher and as a reflection surface.
Based on the concept of a journey, visitors will experience surprising facets of Switzerland by walking through the pavilion. The pavilion revolves around reflecting Switzerland’s culture, natural beauty and innovations. In terms of content and dramaturgy, ‘Reflections’ is composed in three acts. In the first act, the audience is invited, while waiting in line, to shape the facet ‘typically Swiss’ – interactively by means of reflection in a mirror. The journey continues inside the pavilion for the second act. Here a unique experience of nature is staged. The audience strives towards the dramaturgical climax: they walk uphill through real fog. Destination unknown. When emerging from the fog comes the surprising view of an artistic interpretation of a mountain panorama. This authentic Swiss experience shakes all the senses and leaves a biographical note for the visitors. The third act covers the facet of an urban and creative environment, reflecting Switzerland’s position as one of the most innovative and competitive countries in the world. True to the Expo theme ‘Connecting Minds – Creating the Future’, the three acts each communicate Switzerland’s strengths and opportunities in the fields of education, research, innovation and business.
The journey ends with an interpretation of Arab landscapes in the Wadi, with alluvial hills and individual vegetation groups. A special feature of this wadi landscape are the seating elements made of recycled concrete. Inspired by the Majilis seating culture, they create a place to stay and cultivate hospitality.
The project team, composed of OOS (architecture), Bellprat Partner (scenography) and Lorenz Eugster (landscape), won the FDFA’s planning competition for the Swiss Pavilion at EXPO 2020 in Dubai. The ‘Reflections’ concept invites the world to experience Switzerland while travelling and to discover surprising aspects of the country. With ‘Reflections’ the project team presents an innovative implementation of the given core messages in space and experience.
The project team’s name and profile:
- OOS AG (architecture): Christoph Kellenberger, Fabio Gieriet, Oliver Walter, Anna Pàl, Takatoshi Oki
- Bellprat Partner AG (scenography): Xavier Bellprat, Arnau Bellprat, Iwan Funk, Dominik Krajcir, Barbara Mutzbauer
- Lorenz Eugster Landschaftsarchitektur und Städtebau GmbH (landscape architecture): Bernd Schulze zur Verth, Svenja Oehlerking
OOS architects is an owner-managed architectural practice in Zurich with around 30 employees. Their core competencies are consulting services and the design and planning of corporate architecture. They translate the values and positioning of their clients into space. The results are tailor-made environments for experience and work in urban planning, architecture and interior design.
Bellprat is a design studio for the conception of exhibitions, brand worlds, tourist destinations and world expos. The studio is located in Zurich and has been working worldwide since 1981. Their interdisciplinary team – scenographers, concept developers, storytellers, multimedia designers, illustrators, project manager – stages environments that enable messages to be experienced through all five senses.
Lorenz Eugster Landscape Architecture and Urban Planning designs and creates gardens, open spaces and landscapes in urban, peripheral and rural contexts. Based in Zurich, the office was founded in 2009 by Lorenz Eugster. It arose from the need to cultivate an integral view of the themes of landscape and open space.