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Spain Pavilion, Expo Dubai 2020

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Among the most interesting pavilions we visited is definitely that of Spain, located in the Sustainability District, its slogan is Intelligence for Life. The architectonic project of the Spain Pavilion for Expo Dubai 2020 is the work of Amann-CánovasMaruri (Temperaturas Extremas Arquitectos S.L.P.). It stands out for the iconic force of its design and its “bioclimatic architecture” adapted to a desert and hot environment such as Dubai. Cooler temperatures are maintained indoors thanks to the cones that facilitate air circulation and the fact that most of the air-conditioned exhibition spaces are underground. This results in reduced energy consumption and costs. The Pavilion has a useful surface area of 5,800 m2, and features a large square covered by cone structures which create an impressive visual effect. Part of its facade has ultra-light and flexible photovoltaic panels designed by the Spanish company The South Oracle (TSO). Its defining featurevisible from the entire Expo grounds- will be its tall, colorful cones which use the atavistic memory of colors to convey Mediterranean culture and to link the theme of sustainability with an optimistic message.


  • The Square: Offers various interconnected spaces, covered by the cones.
  • The Atrium: Connects the square with the below-ground level via a ramp and houses a large artistic installation.
  • The Below-Ground level: Houses the Theatre and exhibition gallery.


The square offers various interconnected spaces, covered by cones, where visitors have the chance to learn about Spain’s contributions to global culture and its ties to the Arab world. Along with the Pavilion’s motto, “Intelligence for life”, which welcomes visitors, basic data about Spain is offered and combined with visual examples of how many icons of our global culture have a Spanish origin, thus helping the visitors identify our country’s role in the world. The history of chess – a millenary game of eastern origin that the Arabs introduced in Spain in the 8th century- acts as a common thread of a shared history and culture. For this reason, and in keeping with the motto of Expo Dubai 2020 –”Connect minds, build the future”–, we wanted to take advantage of the potential that chess has to develop the intelligence and promote coexistence by organizing a World Online School Chess Tournament, in which more than 2,600 children from 50 countries have participated.


Dinamo by Daniel Canogar

Studio Daniel Canogar presents one of its most ambitious projects to date: Dinamo, an audiovisual installation specifically designed for the Spain Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020, and created in collaboration with composer Francisco López. The installation hangs inside the Atrium and is surrounded by the ramps that descend visitors into the Theatre and the underground exhibition area. It consists of three sculptural screens in the form of an interlaced ringlet that show constantly changing generative audiovisual content thanks to the visitors’ interaction with the handrails along the ramp. As the handrail detects more contact, the content on the screens of Dinamo become more dynamic and saturated. At the same time, the sound will become more intense as interaction increases. As such, the activation of the installation is entirely in the hands of the visitors. In line with the theme of Expo Dubai 2020, Connecting minds, creating the future, Dinamo reflects on the collective as a source of alternative energy for a sustainable future and underlines the strength of community. Through the handrail, it registers the amount of contact and the position of each contact and translates this information into a unique audiovisual configuration, creating a fortuitous choreography with visitors. Furthermore, Dinamo diversifies the aesthetic experience beyond visual elements by placing emphasis on touch and sound. The ringlet of screens that constitute Dinamo refers to one of the most fundamental ideas of the Spain Pavilion: a circular economy.


The Theatre: August Moon by Nacho Vigalondo

This movie presents Spain to the visitors of Expo Dubai 2020 by showing it as a dynamic, lively country, brimming with talent and creativity, that is committed to a sustainable and inclusive future. The title of the 8-minute movie is August Moon, which was created by one of the most creative minds in Spanish film today, Nacho Vigalondo. August Moon is the story of an unexpected cosmic phenomenon that affects an entire country: the sun comes out in the middle of the night. This strange situation, based in science fiction, can only be resolved when we are all able to come to an agreement and work in unison towards an intelligent solution. Hence the link with the theme Connecting minds, creating the future, and the slogan Intelligence for life. It highlights not only the diverse nature of our country but also the openness of its inhabitants, our creativity and ability to resolve problems together, rooted in our joie de vivre and quality of life.

August Moon
August Moon


As visitors leave the Theatre, they will embark on a self-guided pathway through an exhibition aimed at showing some of the most relevant examples of how Spain contributes to the 2030 Agenda for the Sustainable Development Goals, with innovative projects for a sustainable future. The Forest of Intelligence, comprised of trees made from a special material that absorbs CO2, is a metaphorical space that will display various example of how our country contributes to the protection and sustainable use of natural resources. The lobby connects the Theatre to the chiaroscuro of the forest and invites visitors to reflect on the necessity of adopting sustainable habits so we can guarantee the needs of future generations. This experience is organized into three thematic areas:

  • Conservation of biodiversity
  • Balanced use of resources
  • Collective intelligence

THEMATIC AREA 1 – Conservation of biodiversity

Oceans and seas, reserves for biodiversity:

Through a unique combination of technology and immersive theatrical elements that interact with visitors, we will showcase some of the many initiatives Spain has implemented to protect its privileged biodiversity and marine ecosystems.

Microseaweed against climate change:

Microseaweeds are unicellular photosynthetic organisms, and because they are found in abundance, they offer many possibilities for combating climate change and greenhouse gases, and represent a sustainable source of energy and food for the future. Spain is heading diverse R+D initiatives in this field, which we will demonstrate with a surprising installation of bioreactors.

Forests for future generations:

Spain is the country with the most UNESCO Biosphere Reserves in the world. We represent these reserves in a forest with large-scale and artistic images of a spectacular beech wood forest. In this setting, visitors will see programs for the protection of flora and fauna, and will be able to have their picture taken in some of them.

THEMATIC AREA 2 – Balanced use of resources

This part of the pathway shows some of the initiatives that Spain is heading on a global level to make food production more sustainable, while preserving the richness of the traditional Mediterranean diet. Visitors will discover advanced farming and pest control systems as well as solutions for reducing food waste. The Forest- like with real forests- is an environment that is very sensitive to human activities. To achieve this effect, the Tree of Balance, an interactive audiovisual installation, reacts to the attitudes of visitors to the Pavilion with a series of interactive resources that engage the public in its conservation. If the visitors show that they have sustainable habits, then the tree will flourish. But if their acts do not respect the environment, the tree’s leaves will wither. The idea is that visitors will be able to perceive the impact of their decisions on the environment.

Ph. Silvia Belotti

THEMATIC AREA 3 – Collective intelligence

Collective intelligence is modifying the way we innovate, produce and work. It creates environments in which creativity drives the development of new scenarios for production 20 and services. An audiovisual installation – in a futuristic space- will show a selection of innovative projects from emerging Spanish companies and startups, all related to sustainability. What’s more, these initiatives provide sustainable development solutions that can be reproduced in other contexts. These projects have been selected by CDTI (Centre for the Development of Industrial Technology), ENISA (European Union Agency for Cybersecurity) and Alto Comisionado para España Nación Emprendedora (High Commissioner for Spain Entrepreneurial Nation). Among them figure Zeleros, the name given to the Spanish hyperloop project (a transport system based on vacuum tubes). It was created by a team of students from the Polytechnic University of Valencia (UPV), and has
since become a powerful startup.

The exhibition pathway ends with an installation that accompanies visitors along the exit ramp, a 100-m long corridor with a video and LED installation. Spaniards of all ages, classes and backgrounds smile at visitors while texts appear with some of the criteria that make Spain one of the countries in the world with the best quality of life: life expectancy, public healthcare, cuisine, advanced education system, social inclusion and inclusion of immigrants, and the level of wellbeing of the many people who have decided to move to our country.

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