Pause for thought: Five top spots to stop and reflect at Expo 2020 Dubai

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Expo 2020 Dubai’s site is four times the size of Dubai Mall – that’s equivalent to 600-plus football pitches – so you would be forgiven for rushing around in an effort to get to as many pavilions as possible, while trying to squeeze in as many restaurants and events as you can, before it all ends on 31 March. 

But, as much as the site offers myriad of things to do, it also offers a number of spots where guests can slow down, look around, and pause for thought:

The Worker’s Monument

Celebrating the 200,000-strong workforce that came from around the globe to bring to life the Expo 2020 Dubai site, the Worker’s Monument, cut from a single monolithic block, features every worker’s name carved into the stone columns. It’s a celebration of people working together to reach a common goal.

Designed by UK-based architect Asif Khan – who also designed several other key site elements, including the stunning Expo Entry Portals – the monument can be found along the main walkway of Expo’s Jubilee Park. It represents the UAE’s vision of collaboration and the 240 million working hours that went into transforming part of the desert into the world-class event that is Expo 2020 Dubai.

The Beacons of Al Wasl

Take a break from looking skywards to the captivating projections on Al Wasl dome to cast your eyes towards the ground, where 42 one-metre-wide bronze medallions, placed around the plaza, highlight landmark events throughout the UAE’s history, as well as the country’s prized values. 

Each beacon has its own story, from celebrating day the UAE won the bid to host Expo 2020 Dubai to highlighting the country’s space programme and sending its first astronaut into the beyond in 2019, as well as praising international relationships and showcasing different parts of UAE culture.

The beacons were illustrated by a select group of artists from around the world with different influences and disciplines. Rui Ricardo and Siku are both influenced by manga; Owen Davey specialises in bold, graphic shapes; Sarah Maxwell’s specialty is drawing animals; and Nick Hayes is known for his lino prints.

Contemporary artworks around the site

Curated by Tarek Abou El Fetouh, 11 contemporary artworks by artists from different countries have been placed around the site as part of Expo 2020 Dubai’s Public Art Programme, which focuses on the role of perception in the way we view the world and others, encouraging innovative thinking and imagination.

Some notable works include Nadia Kaabi-Linke’s One Day on Two Orbits, a floor sculpture in concrete; Monira Al Qadiri’s Chimera, a five-metre-high oil-drill-shaped sculpture that changes colour throughout the day depending on how the light hits it; and Shaikha Al Mazrou’s The Plinth, which is captivating thanks to its size and the fact that it looks like fabric tied with a yellow clasp, despite being made of marble and steel.

Dodecalis Luminarium 

Situated in the Festival Garden, Dodecalis Luminarium, an immersive art installation by Architects of Air, is a large inflatable structure of three domes on the outside and an incandescent colourful maze on the inside. Described as “somewhere between a womb and a cathedral”, it is named after the dodecahedron. 

The incredible luminosity of the delicate exhibit is created by the phenomenon of light shining through colour. Visitors remove their shoes and are encouraged to walk slowly along the designated paths to immerse themselves in the experience by making use of pods where they can sit down or lie back to absorb the ambience.

Mission Possible – The Opportunity Pavilion

Designed to encourage people to celebrate our shared human experiences, guests step inside to experience how their individual positive actions have the ability to create change in the world, in line with the Sustainable Development Goals – a universal call to action to end poverty and protect the planet.

They learn about three individuals who have beaten the odds to create great socioeconomic improvements in their communities in the areas of food, water and energy. Interactive activities illustrate the tangible results of the impact these changes have. Finally, guests are invited to make a pledge to act and create positive change.

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