Dubai 2020: Construction of Italian Expo pavilion starts

Minister Buffagni wants it to become permanent design museum

(by Enrica Piovan).
    (ANSA) - Dubai, November 26 - The 4.38 square kilometres on which shimmering lights will be lit on October 20, 2020 for the first Universal Expo of the Middle East are now a work site.
    Cranes and machinery have livened up an immense area full of activity around the structure of the gigantic cupola, already visible from al-Wasl Square, that will be the heart of the Expo in Dubai. It is within this scenario that Italy has officially begun work on its pavilion, with the laying of the first stone. The pavilion will leave its mark, since the UAE has asked for it to be left in the country after the Expo and Italy has accepted with the idea of transforming it into a museum.
    The request was at the center of an unscheduled bilateral meeting between Deputy Development Minister Stefano Buffagni and the international cooperation minister as well as Expo 2020 Dubai director Reem al Hashimi. Italy's general commissioner for Expo 2020 Paolo Glisenti also took part. "They expressed pleasure at being able to make this pavilion permanent. We said that it is something we can work on together so that it becomes a museum of Italian design in Dubai, a great place to show off Italian skills," said Buffagni.
    The deputy minister also took part in a ceremony in which Italian ambassador to the UAE Nicola Lener was present as well as an event at the American University of Dubai to discuss the pavilion and the theme around which it will be developed: "Beauty Brings People Together". "We are certain that the Italian pavilion, which will celebrate beauty as a way to unite creativity and knowledge, will be highly appreciated by our millions of visitors, adding interest to what is expected to be seen at the Expo," underscored Expo Bureau Executive Director Najeeb al-Ali in meeting Buffagni.
    Ali praised relations between the two countries and said that the UAE are working to be ready for the starting of the six-month event, now some 46 weeks and 6 days away. Organisers say everything will be ready and that the permanent structures for the Expo will be completed by the end of the year. The Italian project was designed by Italo Rota, Carlo Ratti, Matteo Gatto and F&M Ingegneria and stretches over a 3,500-square-meter surface area. It uses sustainable materials like orange peelings and coffee grounds and is based on a circular approach to architecture, with the hulls of three boats painted in the colors of the Italian flag that have been converted into a roof of the exhibition area. The strategic location - near the pavilions of the UAE, India the US, and Japan - enables Italy to expect to see up to "5.5 million visitors", Glisenti said. Expo will also benefit Italy, both for market knowledge as well as for Italian businesses that will have the chance to make themselves known, Buffagni said. The minister said that the government would be doing its all to support the success of Italy's participation in the event.