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Tue May 17 2022

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Contractor picked for UK’s Dubai Expo pavilion

27 Jun 19 International trade secretary Liam Fox has announced the official construction partners for UK’s pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.

 The UK Pavilion’s 20m-high glowing LED façade will beam out AI-generated messaging
The UK Pavilion’s 20m-high glowing LED façade will beam out AI-generated messaging

British construction firm McLaren will work with marketing firm Pico to deliver the 3,417m2, two-level UK Pavilion. Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to get 25 million visitors from across the world; the UK Pavilion will showcase British innovation, creativity and expertise.

The centrepiece of the UK Pavilion is a 20-metre-high, cone-shaped structure made up of rows of protruding slats that extend outwards from one central point to form a circular facade. The building will feature cross-laminated timber on a concrete structure, with much of the Pavilion manufactured and assembled off-site.

Dr Fox ceremoniously broke ground on the pavilion today. He said: “As the first major international moment after we leave the EU, Expo 2020 Dubai will mark the UK becoming a truly independent trading nation. The Expo provides a global platform to showcase our ambition for the future, and our participation provides excellent opportunities for UK businesses that have already won major contracts.

“I am delighted that our newly appointed construction partners Pico and McLaren will be working with our design team to bring the best of British creativity, innovation and expertise to the world.”

Reem Al Hashimy, UAE minister of state for international cooperation and director general of the Expo 2020 Dubai Bureau said: “The UAE and the UK have long enjoyed a robust, mutually-beneficial relationship that will continue to thrive as we forge partnerships across all sectors, from trade and tourism to art, technology and education. Expo 2020 Dubai will provide a strong platform to expand those partnerships, and we congratulate the UK as it begins the construction of this dramatic, artistic, AI-inspired pavilion.”

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The pavilion, which has been designed by British artist Es Devlin, will promote the UK as a destination for trade, investment, education and tourism, and highlight the UK’s capability in artificial intelligence and the space sector.  

McLaren chairman Kevin Taylor said: “McLaren has built its reputation in the region on successful delivery of complex, high-profile projects for discerning customers. Being asked to build the UK Pavilion is testament to our ability to bring to life some exceptional buildings. We are proud to represent both the UK and Dubai with this exciting project.”

Pico Group director Jessie Ng said: “Working with the Department for International Trade, we will build a unique and exciting structure that will showcase the best in UK innovation and reflect the opportunities within the UK’s participating theme for Expo 2020 Dubai – ‘Innovating for a Shared Future’.”

UK companies have won several other contracts related to the design, build and delivery of Expo 2020 Dubai. Serco Group has a £140m contract extension to maintain and operate the Dubai Metro – the main method of transportation for visitors to the Expo site. Laing O’Rourke won a £130m contract to build the Leadership and Media Pavilions, and the ‘hammerhead’ access road to the central event space for Expo 2020 Dubai.

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