Bruna Garcia Fonseca
Dubai – Ancient meets modern in this Arab pavilion that combines technological experiences with a design that pays tribute to the traditional dhow vessel, the country’s national emblem. Built in a little as five months, the Gulf country pavilion is located in the Sustainability district at Expo 2020 Dubai and has a built area of 620 square meters.
Its design makes a modern interpretation of the four elements of the coat of the country’s coat of arms, which includes two curved and crossed swords, on which a traditional dhow boat and an island with palm trees are positioned.
The expressive forms of the pavilion translate cultural elements of the country into movement, mobility, strength and tradition. The pavilion emulates the country’s innovative spirit and outlook of the future, while remaining rooted to its culture and history.
The color white that dominates the space, besides being present in the flag, symbolizes peace. The curvilinear shapes of the roof relate to the sails of the dhow boat, which was used to collect pearls, fish and transport products.
The internal area offers minimalist rooms. The first gallery, a wide, white room with high ceilings, features a digital screen showing the stadiums of the World Cup to take place next year, as well as other images. Four other screens on the opposite wall show the country’s map, as well as images related to education, with different schools and universities of Qatar, and images related to the environment, sustainability and the arts.
Mirrored totems in the second room show videos of the past, present and future of the country. Images of previous World Cups are shown, including footage of Brazilian players like Ronald with the 2002 Cup trophy. There’re also videos about the Qatar World Cup to take place next year and International Horticultural Expo to take place in Doha under the theme “Green Desert, Better Environment,” as well as other videos on the country’s culture.
To welcome authorities, there is a majlis, a typical Arab meeting room that visitors have no access to. This reporter was able to go in and drink karak with Qatar pavilion director Mohamed Saeed Al-Bloshi. Karak é is black tea with milk and cardamom that’s very traditional in Qatar. Al-Bloshi said that the drink became a tradition in the country with the arrival of Indian and Pakistani workers that brough it around the 50s. It’s also know as masala chai and can contain other spices.
The pavilion’s director said that the award-winning Spanish architect and engineer Santiago Calatrava signed the Qatar pavilion design, which has welcome around 3,000 visitor a day.
The pavilion tells a story that connects the historical heritage of Qatar to its outlook of the future and reflects the wonders and culture of the country and people. An immersive experience with colors, quotes, music and visual projections that makes the visitor immerse in the Qatari culture.
Translated by Guilherme Miranda