Product Type
Application Area
Lighting Effect
Product Type
Application Area
Lighting Effect

United Arab Emirates Pavilion Expo Milano 2015

About Project

Here, the Foster + Partners studio sought to create not only a symbol-building, but also a space that binds  the history of the Emirates to the theme of the Expo. Salem Al Ameri, the EXPO general administrator for  the country, emphasized during his presentation of the project that the choices made are based on a  specific strategy that seeks to reduce carbon emissions whenever and wherever possible. The building, in  fact, has been awarded LEED ‘Platinum’ certification thanks to a combination of passive principles and  active techniques, including the installation of photovoltaic cells and capturing rainwater on the roof  garden. Customer The National Media Council, United Arab Emirates Architectural design Foster+Partners  Lighting design DALD- David Atkinson Lighting Design Limited United Arab Emirates Pavilion The fact that  the building has been deliberately designed so it can be recycled and reconstructed in the United Arab  Emirates after the Expo is part of this vision.

And the presentation of the project through a live online press  conference that eliminated flights by connecting London, Milan and Abu Dhabi, was also part of this global  strategy to reduce carbon production and minimize human impact on the environment.  The architectural design for the United Arab Emirates pavilion reproduces antique methods used to  construct cities in the desert and their natural energy efficiency. The artificial lighting, designed by David  Atkinson, enhances the pavilion’s architectural forms, while its all-LED luminaires helped it attain LEED  Platinum status. The pavilion is located in a large area along the main Decumano avenue. From here, the  visitors are drawn towards a space that deliberately recreates the effect of a canyon, by means of two 12-  metre-high, undulating walls. The walkways that cross the pavilion resemble the narrow streets and  courtyards of ancient desert cities, as well as their contemporary equivalents, already designed by  Foster+Partners in their sustainable masterplan for Masdar City in Abu Dhabi.

The walls stretch for 40  metres, the entire length of the area, in a series of parallel waves, designed to evoke the ridges and  textures of sand dunes. To communicate a specific sense of place, the textures of the walls have been  created using scans taken in the desert. The materials used were also specifically chosen to show the  different colours of sand found in the Emirates. These materials are highlighted by recessed adjustable  Light Up Walk Professional luminaires installed along the walls and fitted with special filters that warm the  original colour temperature of 2700 K up to approximately 2300 K. A ramp leads gently upwards from the  entrance to the auditorium. Laser Blade Inout luminaires have been installed along the ramp as they blend  perfectly with the structure and create a sense of consistency with the Laser Blade luminaires used inside  the pavilion.

The public park area around the pavilion has also been designed to evoke the terrain and flora  of the United Arab Emirates, and iPro luminaires have been used to highlight the trees. In the centre of the  site there is a drum that contains an auditorium. The drum is a spectacular part of the project. It is covered  by a distinctive metal structure which reflects the surrounding scenario during the day and is itself reflected  in the dune-like walls. To create this effect at night, too, wall-mounted, wallwasher effect Linealuce  luminaires have been positioned all around the upper edge of the drum. These wallwasher effect  luminaires are located at a height of 11 metres, and have no “scalloping” effect so they reproduce the  sensation of natural daylight perfectly. 

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  • Year:
  • Client:
    The National Media Council, United Arab Emirates
  • Architectural project:
    Norman Foster+Partners
  • Lighting project:
    DALD- David Atkinson Lighting Design Limited
  • Photographer:
    Anthony Pearson, Lorenzo Palizzolo

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