Dubai: When Belgium opens its pavilion doors at Expo 2020 in October it will showcase its artistic and technical expertise, and offer up a snapshot of the kind of carbon-neutral, smart and green country its working towards being. Just look at the eco-design of its pavilion.
Burj Khalifa contractor builds the ‘Green Arch’
The all-encompassing pavilion structure exhibits Belgian technological, industrial and scientific knowledge, and it does this through the concept of biomimicry, where problem-solving designs are modelled on nature.
Designed by Vincent Callebaut Architectures and Assar Architects, the zero-waste building sports a vertical garden of 10,000 plants that are capable of absorbing up to 35 tonnes of carbon dioxide and converting it into oxygen during the event run. The plants will also help cool the temperature within the pavilion by three to five degree Celsius.
Belgian contractor Besix is in charge of bringing the circular architecture to life – the very firm that was involved in the building of the world’s tallest skyscraper, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa. The sweeping arch is entirely constructed from Belgian bio-sourced materials with recyclable elements, including the 5.5km of timber slats installed into the facade, whose composition evokes the mashrabiya style of architecture.
Balanced on two wide pillars, the wooden arch offers visitors an outdoor shaded area like the agora, a Greek-inspired open space for gatherings. The pavilion will be equipped to welcome 20,000 visitors daily under the protective curve of the inverted bridge.
Belgian comic heroes to present mobility
The Belgian pavilion experience begins at the waiting line, where it will communicate the overarching district theme of mobility to visitors through six famous Belgian personalities. In the waiting area, visitors will learn of the historic past achievements of select individuals in the realm of mobility, from the European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Frank De Winne to the Belgian record-setting athlete Nafissatou Thiam.
Creative agencies Facts and Fiction and Envie will sketch a comic-style scenography to further the futuristic vision of Belgian mobility, inclusive of smart cities, virtual connectivity and smart bio-logistics. The ‘Smart and Green Belgium 2050’ narrative will unfold in the form of a comic strip scenography in collaboration with Belgian comic publishing houses, whose heroes will lead the exhibition.
Try Belgian chocolate and ‘frietjes’
Gastronomy makes up a large portion of the Belgian pavilion experience. Visitors will have the option of feasting on a three-course meal from a menu drawn up by Michelin-star chef Bart Thoelen at the main restaurant.
A traditional rooftop brasserie, offering a panoramic view of the Expo site, will serve fingerfood and snacks. Lastly, two kiosks at the entrance of the pavilion will satisfy visitors’ Belgian fast-food cravings, serving waffles and the country’s popular fries or ‘frietjes’.
– The writer is an intern with Gulf News.