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Finish Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 by JKMM Architects

JKMM Architects "brings a fragment of Finnish nature to UAE" with Dubai Expo pavilion

Helsinki studio JKMM Architects has created a calm, chapel-like pavilion as the Finnish contribution to Dubai Expo 2020.

Located in the Mobility district at the Dubai Expo site, the Finland Pavilion is covered in a white tensioned industrial fabric that was designed to evoke Finnish snow.

Finland Pavilion at Dubai Expo
The pavilion has a white facade to evoke snow

"In designing the pavilion, we sought to bring a fragment of Finnish nature to UAE and Dubai," said Teemu Kurkela, founder of JKMM Architects.

"The pavilion was inspired by the thin white layer of first snow that covers the Finnish landscape at the beginning of winter," he told Dezeen. "In Finnish, it is called 'Lumi', which means snow."

Timber-lined interior space
The entrance leads to a chapel-like space

The fabric skin is pulled up at the centre, like a draped curtain that marks the entrance into the pavilion. Evoking a tent, this refers to both the Finnish and Middle Eastern nomadic heritage.

"The main entrance was inspired by a traditional Arabic tent," said Kurkela. "Two cultures meet in the architectural concept of the pavilion."

Finland Pavilion
The pace is topped with an eyedrop-shaped skylight

The entrance leads to a space lined with curved slatted-wooden surfaces described by the studio as a "gorge-like space carved into the building".

This top-lit space was designed to be a calm space away from the bustle of the surrounding expo. The floor is made from Finnish granite tiles.

JKMM Architects hope that this space will be an ideal place for having in-person meetings during the six-month-long event.

"Hopefully, this will be the best space in expo for meeting face-to-face," the studio said.

Finland exhibition at Dubai Expo
An exhibition space is wrapped around the central gorge

Surrounding the central gorge is a space containing an exhibition that aims to demonstrate how nature and technology can be utilised to develop happiness, as Finland is the happiest country in the world.

The display, which includes a 53-metre-long film display, was designed by Futudesign, Sun Effects and Flatlight Creative House in collaboration with JKMM Architects.

Timber-lined space
The space was designed as a retreat from the bustle of the expo

Following the expo, the pavilion will remain on the site for five years, after which it will be dismantled. JKMM Architects estimates that more than 80 per cent of the materials used in its construction will be recycled and reused.

Overseen by Paris-based intergovernmental organisation the Bureau International des Expositions, the Dubai Expo has contributions from 180 countries.

Other national pavilions at the expo include Es Devlin's timber UK Pavilion, which incorporates an AI-generated poem in its facade and the Qatar and UAE Pavilion that were both designed by Spanish Architect Santiago Calatrava.

Photography is by Marc Goodwin.

Expo 2020 Dubai is open to the public from 1 October to 31 March 2022. See Dezeen Events Guide for an up-to-date list of architecture and design events taking place around the world.

More images and plans

Finish Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 by JKMM Architects
Finish Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 by JKMM Architects
Finish Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 by JKMM Architects
Finish Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 by JKMM Architects
Finish Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 by JKMM Architects
Finish Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 by JKMM Architects