Font Size

- Aa +

Wed 12 Feb 2020 11:01 AM

Font Size

- Aa +

Finland's Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion organisers anxiously await granite from China

'Snow Cape' pavilion has topped out with work scheduled to complete in mid-September

Finland's Expo 2020 Dubai pavilion organisers anxiously await granite from China

(From Left) Severi Keinälä Commissioner General of Finland at Expo 2020 Dubai; Omar Shehadeh, Chief International Participants Officer Expo 2020 Dubai; Mika Lintilä, Finland’s Minister of Economic Affairs; Marianne Nissilä, Finland’s Ambassador to the UAE.

Officials from the Finland pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai have revealed concerns over the delivery of granite flooring, which is currently being worked on in China.

The flooring, which has been originally sourced from Finland, is in the process of being refined in China ahead of taking centre stage in the “gorge” area on the ground floor of the pavilion.

However, manufacturing in China is currently at the behest of the deadly coronavirus, with plants only just reopening this week after the extended Lunar New Year holiday and others remaining closed in a desperate bid to bring the epidemic under control.

Severi Keinälä, commissioner general of Finland for the Expo, told Arabian Business: “The gorge is the place where we will have Finnish granite floor, if we get it from China. There are still problems there. That’s the only concern, everything else is local or coming from Finland.”

But he added: “We have a number of Plan Bs.”

Peaceful centre

Guests to the Finnish pavilion, which topped out on Tuesday and boasts the theme ‘Finland – Sharing Future Happiness’, will be welcomed through a huge entrance in the shape of an Arabic tent, to the central “gorge” area, which Keinälä describes as “the peaceful centre in the expo craziness where people will come and have their blood pressure lowered for a moment”.

The 1,867 square metre pavilion, being built by Expomobilia, has been named ‘Snow Cape’, with the entire outside covering taking on the look of a blanket of snow.

Teemu Kurkela, partner and architect at JKKM Architect, who designed Finland’s previous expo entry in Shanghai in 2010, explained: “If you come to Finland some time in December, especially in the north, there is at some time the first snow, which is traditionally a big event in Finland. The whole country is covered in one night in a thin layer of snow.

“It’s a really beautiful change in the landscape, it covers it like a blanket and it becomes like a big sculpture in itself.

“We wanted to bring this experience of the first snow to Dubai and to this desert.”

Completion date

Keinälä revealed there are 100 partners supporting the pavilion, which is due to be complete by mid-September, although he would not disclose the full cost of the project – half of which is being paid by the Finnish government.

“Our pavilion is a very simple structure. We are not aiming at extravagant building because we’re talking about a temporary structure. We want to be sustainable and efficient and I think our approach results in a cost-effective building that is spending much less than other countries,” he said.

Keinälä explained that 80-85 percent of the materials used to build Snow Cape will be recycled and reused after Expo 2020 Dubai finishes on April 10, 2021.

For all the latest construction news from the UAE and Gulf countries, follow us on Twitter and Linkedin, like us on Facebook and subscribe to our YouTube page, which is updated daily.