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Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo

OOS turns Swiss Pavilion into giant mirror at Dubai Expo

Zürich-based architecture studio OOS has covered the front of the Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 with a giant mirror.

Set alongside a giant red carpet, the pavilion is named Reflections and aims to make visitors think about the image of Switzerland.

OOS designed the Swiss Pavilion at the Dubai Expo. Photo is by Tom Ravenscroft

"The meaning lies in the reflection," explained Christoph Kellenberger, founding partner of OOS.

"The reflection of Switzerland. The reflection of the red carpet. The reflection of all the visitors," he told Dezeen.

mirrored pavilion at Dubai Expo
Its facade is a giant mirror

Designed by OOS in collaboration with scenography designer Bellprat Partner and landscape architect Lorenz Eugster, the pavilion is a simple cube.

However, it is brought to life by its mirrored facade that has a funnel-shaped indentation facing the large red carpet area for queueing.

Mirrored facade of Swiss Pavilion
The facade reflects the red carpet. Photo is by Tom Ravenscroft

"The funnel-shaped mirroring of the front welcomes visitors on a discovery tour from afar," said Kellenberger.

"This not only encourages visitors to reflect on themselves and others but also leads to an examination of the image of Switzerland," he continued.

"The reflection is also intended to bring people into contact with each other and is the translation of the Expo's leitmotiv: Connecting minds, creating the future."

Fog-filled visitor attraction
The pavilion contains a fog-filled room

Within the pavilion, visitors walk up a pathway in a fog-filled room that leads to a view of a mountain top.

"We developed a walking tour through Switzerland that leads through the natural fog high up the mountain to a panorama over the sea of fog," explained Kellenberger.

"The pavilion represents Swiss values such as inventiveness and openness, as well as the beauty of the Swiss landscape," he continued.

"The experience of feeling real fog on their skin and then looking out over the sea of fog into the Swiss mountains is intended to awaken a desire to visit Switzerland."

Visitor attraction in Swiss Pavilion
The fog reveals a mountain view

Following the mountain experience, visitors descend into an exhibition hall that focuses on Swiss innovation, before exiting from the side of the pavilion.

An additional event space is located on the roof of the building.

Exhibition hall in Swiss Pavilion
An exhibition hall contains examples of Swiss innovation

Despite the bright sunshine expected at the expo, the studio was not concerned about the reflected light.

"The main entrance faces west (and Mecca) – and thus sunset," said Kellenberger.

"The reflection of the evening sunlight makes the red carpet shine. The visitors receive sun umbrellas which lead to a playful image in the reflection of the facade," he continued.

"And if you look at the local architecture, reflective surfaces are often used."

Rooftop events space
The pavilion is topped with a rooftop events space

Kellenberger also expects the pavilion to be popular with visitors as a spot for taking selfies.

"It was already clear on the opening day of the expo that the pavilion is a magnet for visitors," he said.

"Many visitors take a picture or selfie of themselves right on the red carpet: so the iconographic shot is something they're sure to take home with them."

OOS' Swiss Pavilion is one of numerous national pavilion's designed to promote nations at the Dubai Expo, which is open for the next six months.

Es Devlin created a timber structure that presents an AI-generated poem for the UK's pavilion, while Carlo Ratti topped the Italy Pavilion with a trio of boats.

The photography is by Jon Wallis, unless stated.

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

Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo
Ground floor plan
Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo
First floor plan
Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo
Rooftop plan
Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo
Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo
Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo
Photo by Tom Ravenscroft
Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo
Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo
Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo
Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo