Stockholm Furniture & Light Fair 2020 snow

Images courtesy of Alessandro Ripellino Arkitekter, Studio Adrien Gardère and Luigi Pardo Architetti.

The world's greatest show - connecting minds, creating the future

The Swedish pavilion at EXPO 2020 DUBAI UAE

The once-in-a-lifetime celebration and the largest event ever staged in the Arab world, is set to welcome 190 participating countries, among them Sweden, and millions of visitors from across the globe. Expo 2020 aspires to create a meaningful legacy that will benefi t generations to come, both locally and globally, spanning everything from innovations and architecture to friendships and business opportunities. Every World Expo has had one or more themes on which each exhibiting country bases the design of their pavilion. The aim in 2020 is to showcase innovation and ideas that make the world a better place.

The Swedish pavilion

In partnership with Architects Sweden, the committee for Sweden’s participation in the World Expo held a competition to decide who would get to design the Swedish pavilion. Part of the brief for the competition was that the architects should refl ect the Swedish love of simplicity and natural materials.

The winning entry, The Forest by Alessandro Ripellino Arkitekter, Paris and New York-based Studio Adrien Gardère and Italian firm Luigi Pardo Architetti, combines a strong concept with architectural qualities and functional requirements.

The pavilion is inspired by the forest, with open exhibition spaces featuring slender tree trunks and meeting rooms in elevated treehouses. With the average temperature in Dubai often exceeding 30 degrees, the architects want the pavilion to serve as a cool oasis in the hot setting.

The Forest is based on the idea of strolling through endless woodland.

“The Forest is based on the idea of strolling through endless woodland. The forest has been used as a metaphor for everything from the architectural approach to the staging of the exhibition, with spaces inspired by glades, log cabins and treetops. The Swedish pavilion will be an open place for reflection that encourages imagination, invention and co-creativity. An imaginative encounter between Nordic forest and Arabic geometry, between our culture and the culture of our hosts”, says Alessandro Ripellino.

The pavilion will be built using wood elements made by the Swedish wood industry and tree trunks from trees grown in Dalarna.

The Government has set a sustainability goal for Sweden’s participation and when the exhibition ends, the aim is to sell the building, which can be disassembled and mounted, so that it can remain in use.

“The Swedish pavilion will offer a strong sense of the forest as a sustainable envi­ronment that generates life and wellbeing”, Ripellino continues. “It is not just a building with an exhibition inside. On the contrary, the exhibition and the building work together to create an enticing flow. Stroll in a forest of trees and glades with seating and projections showing the five elements that, with sustain­ability in mind, form Sweden’s Innovation Partnership Programs – next generation travel and transport, smart cities, circular and bio-based economy, life science, and connected industry and new materials.”

One fascinating feature are the elevated treehouses on top of the tree trunks containing conference facilities. Geometric wooden screens will provide protection from the sun, paying homage to the mashrabiya, an architectural element that is characteristic of Arabic residences: a type of projecting oriel window enclosed with carved wood latticework.


Alessandro Ripellino Arkitekter works with harmonious architecture. The context is the starting point when designing modern buildings and sites. What works today and what can be added? Every project brings a change to the city and the local area, with flow as the most important feature.


From 1998 to 2013, Ripellino was chief architect for the development of Stockholmsmässan in Älvsjö, with responsibility for expanding the exhibition center to include the Talk Hotel, new exhibition halls and new main entrances.


When: October 20, 2020 – April 10, 2021.The Swedish pavilion is part of the Sustainability district.
Theme: Co-Creation for Innovation.
Architects: Alessandro Ripellino Arkitekter (Alessandro Ripellino, Malin Bergman, Pär Åke Wiberg, Jose Alba, David Oscarsson, Eva Lena Hanses and Therese Svalling), Studio Adrien Gardère (Adrien Gardère, Francesca Galdangelo and Marina Khemis) and Luigi Pardo Architetti (Sandra Persiani and Luigi Pardo).
Participation in Expo 2020 is one of Sweden’s largest export initiatives over the next few years. Participation is jointly financed by the state and trade industry.




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