The Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai: A global sensation and a beachhead in Arabian markets.

Edoardo Bonatti
11 gennaio 2022


Italy’s Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020 can safely be declared, after three months, a resounding success, as the estimated number of visitors approached 700 thousand in the last few weeks. Of course, such figures, being limited to just physical attendance, are only a fraction of the total amount of people who actually experienced what the Pavillion has to offer. As a matter of fact, virtual visitors, as is custom during these times, vastly outnumber those travelling to Dubai ten-to-one.

According to a survey published by the CRA-Carlo RattiAssociati firm – which was previously involved in the design of the Pavillion itself – the Italian showcase is the most cited on online media, after the US Pavilion and, of course, that of the host country. According to the data collected by the media monitoring division of CRA, the Pavilion has been mentioned more than four thousand times since September 2019.

“We are happy to notice that the experimentations we have carried out together are captivating the audiences, stimulating discussion and opinions. We hope that this experience will mark the beginning of a season of experiments, where similar events get progressively more open to the ideas circularity and sustainability”, said Carlo Ratti, one of the designers of the Italy Pavilion together with the Italo Rota Building Office, and with Matteogatto & Associates and F&M Ingegneria.

The Pavilion’s success was abundantly covered in the major newspapers of the UAE, such as Al Khaleej, Al Wahda, Al Fajr and Gulf Today, plus other online news outlets covering the Middle East.

This result owes to the constant work of the staff and volunteers who, over the last weeks of 2021, doubled down on their efforts to enforce the more stringent measures in place to minimize the risk of contagion for those visiting. Social distancing, more sanctions and temperature checks at the entrance allowed for safer and more effective crowd management, allowing everyone to experience the Pavilion over the Christmas holidays.

Technology, developed by the best Italian industries in the sector, also played a huge part in this undertaking. The organizers used traditional methods such as natural ventilation and cutting-edge tech like nanotechnologies to sanitize the Pavilion. The whole route leading visitors along the exposition is “open”, guaranteeing continuous air circulation, as recommended by worldwide health institutions. This is helped by the NASA-developed Octo PurePlace, a nanotech-based system to diffuse disinfectant and eliminate any pathogen in the air or on surfaces.

The first thematic week of 2022 opened on January 9, focusing on Travel & Connectivity. Sicily, with its cultural heritage, and Latium will be the protagonists of the week, interspersing tourism-focused forums with events explaining the future strategies for the digitalization of the country. All of them will see the participation of live audiences and users attending the discussion remotely from all over the world.

Source: Official website of Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai