Short of physically visiting Austria on an exploratory mission the strikingly designed Austrian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will offer visitors the unique opportunity to experience the Central European country with all their senses when they step into the spectacularly shaped pavilion from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022.
With the motto of ‘Austria makes Sense’, two permanent exhibitions in the pavilion will appeal to visitors’ senses by beautifully conveying Austria’s numerous contributions to a better, more sustainable world via a series of curated installations, while also showcasing different facets of Austrian research, development and creativity in the form of Made in Austria products. The exhibitions are curated by Ars Electronica Solutions and büro wien, and the graphics are by design studio bleed.
Located in the Opportunity District at Expo 2020, the Austrian Pavilion will be a place where innovative and creative minds come together, and where visitors can connect through a wide variety of events. Values such as intact nature, region-specific culture, food security and regional products, smart technologies, sustainability, and conscious deceleration, are visibly conquering people’s consciousness and the Austrian Pavilion perfectly embodies this zeitgeist.
Various stations in the pavilion will invite visitors to thematically experience Austria directly – through features encompassing the senses of seeing, hearing, smelling and feeling – linked with an interactive technology component.
Designed by Viennese architectural firm querkraft the uniquely shaped and sustainably constructed Austrian Pavilion comprises of 38 geometrically arranged white cone towers inspired by traditional Arabian wind towers and made of precast concrete elements in varying heights.
Featuring natural building materials and a smart, low-tech approach, the whole structure illustrates creative use of Arabian traditional building techniques and modern Austrian innovation that connects people, technology and the environment in a perfect example of sustainability. The traditional clay plaster used in the pavilion’s interior provides a pollutant-free, balanced indoor climate.
Exterior work on the pavilion is completed, with the interior work due to start in mid-July 2021. The pavilion’s sustainability existence will continue as the building will be repurposed and reused after the Expo ends.
In a temporary exhibition, 53 innovations that reflect Austrian inventiveness will be presented digitally and physically in the iLab – the knowledge platform inside the Austrian Pavilion. iLab will operate in two phases, each with four cluster themes: Smart City, Circular Economy, Mobility, Digital Opportunities, Water Agriculture, New Materials, Health & Life Science, and Digital Security. Child visitors will also be able to attend regular coding workshops in iLab.
Culture and coffeehouse
Austria is known worldwide as a nation of art and culture and the Austrian Pavilion will live up to this reputation by hosting regular cultural performances. An art exhibition will also take place in January 2022 at Carbon 12 at Alserkal Avenue.
The coffeehouse, “Austrian Delight”, situated in the centre of the Austria Pavilion, will represent the sense of taste and also serve as a symbol of Austrian hospitality, offering visitors the chance to catch up over coffee while enjoying world-famous Austrian culinary delights.
During the six-month Expo period, the Austrian Pavilion will host a wide-ranging business programme to connect Austrian and Arabian Gulf businesses, with the aim of developing new trade and economic ties for mutual benefit.
The Austrian Pavilion will host a pitch event for Austrian student inventors (15-18 ages) to showcase their sustainability-focused innovations at Expo 2020 Dubai. The young winners will travel to Expo 2020 Dubai in January 2022, where they will interact with other countries’ pavilions and youth programmes.
Austrian National Day
The Austrian National Day will be celebrated on November 19, 2021, as part of the Expo’s Nation’s Day programme for each participating country. On Austria’s Day, in addition to events in the Austrian Pavilion, cultural events on the entire Expo site are also planned, which will be attended by the Austrian Federal President Alexander Van der Bellen, Austrian Minister of Digital and Economic Affairs Margarete Schramböck, President of the Austrian Economic Chamber Harald Mahrer, and Austrian Pavilion Commissioner General Beatrix Karl, besides a business delegation from Austria.
Easing GCC travel to Austria
Austria is meanwhile set to welcome travellers from the GCC region again as from mid June onwards. The UAE, Saudi Arabia and Oman currently fall into the “risk” category of the Robert Koch Institute system. The so-called “RKI list” identifies more than 110 countries as “risk” or ‘high risk” areas.
Austria will adopt the “RKI list” shortly, instead of the currently used European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control system. This means that the quarantine requirement will be removed for vaccinated, recovered or tested travellers from the three GCC countries that are classified as “risk” countries, according to an announcement from the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Regions and Tourism.
Emirates Airline flies to Vienna daily from Dubai, while flydubai is also set to fly to Salzburg from Dubai four times a week from July on as of now.
Austria-UAE strong economics ties
For Austria, which has had an official economic representation office in the UAE since 1976, the Gulf country is its most important economic partner in the Middle East. The UAE – Austria trade balance in 2020 amounted to approx. EUR 540 million, with Austrian direct investments in the Gulf country amounting to EUR 7.5 billion in 2020 making it the 7th largest FDI destination globally for Austria. In the same year, the UAE had investments totalling EUR 4.49 billion in Austria.