Dubai Expo 2020: Federer, explorer Bertrand Piccard likely to visit Swiss pavilion

Dubai - Official inauguration of Dubai Expo 2020 to take place in October.


Dhanusha Gokulan

Published: Mon 29 Mar 2021, 8:09 PM

Last updated: Mon 29 Mar 2021, 8:11 PM

Tennis legend Roger Federer and explorer Bertrand Piccard are among the guests expected to visit the Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 that's set to open this October.

Structural work on the Swiss Pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020 is over and it expects to get the completion certificate by August, officials said.

“This is a significant milestone in the construction, bringing the pavilion one step closer to the official opening in October 2021,” said Massimo Baggi, Ambassador of Switzerland to the UAE and Bahrain.

“From construction to communication, the total budget on the pavilion has been 18 million Euro,” stated Baggi.

Officials revealed that after the official inauguration of the Dubai Expo 2020 in October this year, there will be two visits from the President of the Swiss Federation during the world fair.

Furthermore, visits from leading Swiss personalities, including tennis champion Roger Federer and explorer Bertrand Piccard is also expected, said Nicolas Bideau, ambassador, head of Presence Switzerland, Federal Department of Foreign Affairs (FDFA).

Manuel Salchli, commissioner-general of the Swiss pavilion and chairman of the Steering Committee at Expo 2020 Dubai, told Khaleej Times that the pavilion aims to achieve the completion certificate from Expo2020 authorities by August-end.

“With the heavy construction about to be paused, the final touches, including the interior design and the landscaping, will be completed in the next couple of months,” explained Baggi.

While the outside façade of the pavilion has been completed, the indoors, including the fit-outs, furnishing and bringing in of the exhibits, will take place from mid-July early August onwards. “We are hoping to achieve the completion certificate from the Expo authorities by the end of August,” said Salchi.

Dubai Expo 2020 to have two Swiss presidential visits

Since the President of the Swiss Confederation is elected for one year of office by the United Federal Assembly, Dubai Expo 2020 will have two Presidential visits during the entire course of the world fair. “The first one will be on October 29, which is the official day of Switzerland, and the second one will be on February 26, 2022. We also have an unconfirmed visit of yet another minister, the details of which will be announced soon,” said Salchi.

While the pavilion construction process did suffer disruptions due to the pandemic, Salchi said the pavilion’s features are best experienced in person. “While we would upload 360-degree videos of the website on the Expo 2020 website, I do believe that the Expo is here for personal contact,” he said.

However, the Swiss pavilion will adopt a hybrid model when it comes to its programming and events.

What to expect inside Swiss pavilion?

The Swiss pavilion ‘Reflections’ consists of a cubic temporary structure that draws inspiration from Bedouin tents. It incorporates sustainable building practices such as sustainable scaffolding elements and textiles and seating elements from recycled concrete in the pavilion’s garden.

The Swiss creative team designed the pavilion: the architect’s OOS AG together with Bellprat Partner AG for scenography, and Lorenz Eugster Landscaping GmbH for landscaping, and built by general contractor Expomobilia.

Iwan Funk, the managing partner at Bellprat Partner, told Khaleej Times, “The pavilion narrates the Swiss story in three acts. The first act begins from ‘outside’ the pavilion where visitors can see themselves on a mirrored façade.” The second act is a ‘sea of fog’, which revolves around reflecting critical aspects of Switzerland’s stunning landscapes and nature.

Funk said, “The third act focuses on the more urban, innovative side of the nation. The installations will address global issues closely connected to the Expo 2020 thematic weeks. Based on a journey subdivided into three acts, visitors will experience Switzerland by walking through the pavilion.

“While leading Swiss companies such as Nestle, Novartis, and Roche would have permanent installations at the pavilion, young start-ups from Switzerland will also participate on a cyclical-basis,” said Salchi.


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