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Updated 14 October 2021

Expo 2020 Dubai has officially been opened and we simply can’t wait to pay the world fair a visit and discover what awaits us during the course of the next six months.

The architecture and facade of the UK Pavilion have made it one of the structures that immediately piqued our interest along with the UAE and Saudi Arabia pavilions. If you’re planning on visiting Expo 2020 sometime soon, here are five things to know about the UK pavilion and why we think it should be on everyone’s itinerary. 


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The UK Pavilion

Emphasizing the UK’s position as one of the world’s leading countries in both artificial intelligence (AI) and space technology, visitors to the pavilion are invited to explore opportunities in everything from the commercialisation of space to cutting edge AI innovations.

But more than that, the UK Pavilion also promotes a sense of unification by utilizing the country’s advances in AI and space technology to promote a sense of unity through AI-generated music and poetry.  

Glimpses of the future

The UK Pavilion draws inspiration from one of the famed physicist Stephen Hawking’s last projects in 2015 dubbed the “Breakthrough Message,” a global competition inviting people to create digital messages that would represent humanity should we encounter advanced civilizations.

The UK Pavilion’s facade consists of rows of protruding slats that extend outwards from a central point granting it a futuristic appeal. The 20-meter-high cone-shaped pavilion features poems parading on the facade by way of numerous LED panels. 

The poem pavilion

The UK Pavilion is also known as the poem pavilion due to the emphasis it places on poetry. Within its cocoon-like building, poetry is set in motion with the help of artificial intelligence and the contribution from the 25 million expected visitors to the Expo.

The produced poems then appear as LED light points on the wooden beams’ facades and are displayed in Arabic, Chinese, French and English. The poems are also underlaid by synthetic choral music allowing the surfaces of the CNC (computer-controlled fabrication) timber to become the resonance space of a futuristic musical instrument.

These AI-generated poems, formed by word contributions from visitors to the pavilion, will collectively serve as an illuminated “Message to Space,” conveying our hopes and aspirations to whoever is willing to listen out in the vastness of space.

The thinking structure

Perhaps the most mind-blowing aspect about the pavilion is that the building itself is in essence a giant algorithm; a thinking structure, so to speak. Every visitor to the pavilion is invited to donate one word to the facade concerning their summarized thoughts or feelings about the United Kingdom. These words are then processed and returned to you in a form of a poem as recompense for your contribution.

Your AI-generated poem will also be displayed in the structure’s facade and along with countless other poems and will ultimately serve as a collective message to be used in the future when we encounter other civilizations; a fabric stitched together from visitors from 191 countries.

A surprise inside the pavilion

Visitors entering the pavilion expecting to find some sort of exhibition space will be somewhat taken aback. The pavilion does not hold any sort of exhibit in the traditional sense of the word as the structure itself has taken up that role.

In place of an exhibition, visitors will instead find an illuminated labyrinth of aspiration driven by augmented reality technology. The virtual showcase offers the latest in Britain’s advances in AI and space technology.

Additionally, a choral space is housed within the pavilion filled with a collective choral soundtrack that includes choirs from all continents. Entering the pavilion is akin to entering the resonance chamber of a wooden musical instrument.

It is hoped that through the use of the universal language of music and poetry, the UK Pavilion will project a sense of the UK’s openness to all visitors of the Expo regardless of race, ethnicity, gender, and nationality.