As Expo 2020 Dubai completes its first month, we discover some of the luxury brands showcasing their latest designs and activations on this global platform.
The Women’s Pavilion in Collaboration With Cartier is a platform dedicated to celebrating the talents and successes achieved by women all around the world. With the tagline “when women thrive, humanity thrives”, an exhibition titled New Perspectives aims to recognise and celebrate the central role women have played throughout history. The impressive Pavilion offers a journey through time and around the globe, highlighting some of the most notable moments in which women have paved the way for future generations and shown their strength and capabilities. Opening with a movie by Lebanese Oscar-nominated Film Director Nadine Labaki, guests are then invited to discover some of the biggest achievements by women throughout history. The Achievements room shines a light on women’s positive impact on the world and educates them on the incredible capabilities of women from all walks of life. The Challenges room looks at some of the sadly realistic factors that are still holding women back today and addresses some of the ways we can work towards eradicating these restrictions. Then, as guests are invited to head upstairs they will find an immersive exhibition curated by French actress, screenwriter and director, Mélanie Laurent. This journey showcases the stories of women from all around the world as they navigate through their personal experiences. The second section invites visitors to discover a virtual reality film, showcasing stories of women, known and unknown as they face the world. A second smaller exhibition section houses rotating exhibitions curated by various Emirati artists.
The final area; the Majlis will open up the stage to successful women over the course of the coming six months. This space will play host to women (and men) to engage in constructive and solution-oriented conversations on women’s empowerment. These conversations will be hosted throughout the coming six months with over 150 sessions in total taking place until the end of March 2022. The Pavilion will open conversations around women’s equality, gender balance, women in Arabia, business and innovation, arts and culture and so much more. Registration is available for many of the events with both in-person and remote attendance via Zoom on offer.
At the Italian Pavilion, Bulgari will be hosting several initiatives. For the entire duration of Expo 2020 Dubai, the Italian Pavilion’s restaurant will be managed by Il Ristorante – Niko Romito of Bulgari Resort Dubai. Visitors will get the chance to taste great Italian classics from the restaurant’s iconic menu interpreted by Michelin-starred Chef Romito in a contemporary way. Taking inspiration from the dining venue at Bulgari Resort Dubai, the space is designed with a purely Italian style, giving visitors a taste of Rome. Throughout November and December, a menu will be designed around the key ingredient of truffle with a selection of delicious dishes on offer throughout the day.
The brand also has a cultural exhibition within the central section of the Pavilion featuring a fascinating mix of jewellery and contemporary art by artist Simone Lingua. The Sotiria installation — named in tribute to Sotirio Bulgari, the company’s founder — extends over 150 square metres. As a tribute to Bulgari, the artist has chosen to identify the concept of beauty with the most brilliant of precious stones: the diamond. Composed of seven suspended “necklaces”, the work evokes the gems’ perfection through 63 blown glass icosahedra, ablaze with infinite brilliance thanks to a prism of internal light. Each “diamond” is placed inside a chromed dome, which multiplies its reflections. A spy mirror is interposed between the diamond and the viewer, conceived to disappear and become transparent once backlit.
In celebration of the UAE’s Year of the 50th creations from Bulgari’s Jannah collection will also be exhibited at the Pavilion as part of special patronage projects. Launched in 2020, Jannah celebrates the shared values and rich common heritage between Rome and Abu Dhabi and is the first-ever collaboration between the Italian jewellery Maison and a member of the royal family of the United Arab Emirates, Princess Fatima Bint Hazza Bin Zayed Al Nahyan. There will also be a number of workshops and activations held over the six months, celebrating arts and culture and highlighting Italian craftsmanship.
Dolce&Gabbana is celebrating Italian excellence also at the Italian Pavilion. Under the Pavilion’s theme, “Beauty Connects People” Dolce&Gabbana has designed and created a special installation that celebrates Italian artistic heritage while offering a unique experience to the visitors of the Pavilion. An architectural structure with baroque forms, typical of the architecture of the eighteenth-century gardens of Southern Italy and reflective of Dolce&Gabbana’s brand identity is located close to the flourishing botanical garden of the Pavilion, interacting with its colours and inviting guests to relax in their beautiful surroundings. The structure is covered with 1200 finely crafted and hand-painted majolica tiles by Sicilian master potters with floral interweaving, bougainvillaea fronds, citrus fruits and bucolic landscapes. Following the tradition of craftsmanship, which draws its tools from nature to create true works of art, each tile is made from a mixture of clay and Sicilian lava stone powder and decorated with natural colours obtained from mineral oxides.
The space celebrates the concept of Made in Italy and the importance of sustaining traditional crafts, something with is of huge importance to the Italian brand. The installation aims to be a symbol and testimony of the skills of Italian art masters in all their fields of action. They are a priceless intangible heritage, repositories of knowledge and skills that risk being lost forever, in a distracted and superficial age, if not enhanced, encouraged and communicated to the new generation. The brand has also created uniforms for 60 students who are volunteering around the Italian Pavilion throughout the duration of the event.
Rami Al Ali
Dubai-based designer Rami Al Ali has partnered with architect Carmelo Zappulla for Expo 2020 Dubai’s Design and Crafts Programme MENASA, to share a joint story through an exclusive window display. Zappulla, founder and executive director of the award-winning international studio External Reference, specializes in urban design, architectural and interior design, and exhibition design. This project sees the architect creating a new installation in collaboration with the designer. Al Ali used his penchant towards craftsmanship to create intricate hand embroidery that covers the tips of Zappulla’s 3D Installation with the use of organic shapes. Al Ali’s work aims to create a visual journey that emphasizes the evolution of crafts in the region while modernising it to appeal to today’s generation.
Al Ali uses his work with Zappulla to provoke a new perspective while highlighting the breadth and vibrancy of the country’s contemporary design scene. Bridging the gap between past and present to honour the creative culture of the region. The embroidery on the installation is a juxtaposition of traditional UAE crafts, incorporating materials such as natural fibres from palm frond used for weaving, Talli (traditionally used for embroidery), Sadu (a form of Bedouin weaving), and cotton fishing nets. Embracing the natural colour palette of each raw material, the designer creates a collage of shapes. Each element is abstracted to take on a new form – branches, flowers and petals are constructed to reflect elements of the designer’s couture line. Every aspect of embroidery is constructed by hand to deliver a high couture standard. The installation took a total of 375 hours to create and used 1520 meters of material to execute it. The exhibition along with a series of commemorative hand-crafted boxes produced by Al Ali are available to see and purchase at the MENASA Boutique located at the Rove Hotel at Expo 2020 Dubai.
As the official partner of the France Pavilion Lacoste is offering an immersive experience in a space that features the brand’s iconic codes as well as the Made In France collections within an exclusive pop-up boutique. A made in France polo shirt which has been specially designed for the event is exclusively available in the pop-up store, inviting visitors to come and discover the best in French savoir-faire. The staff of the France Pavilion are also dressed by Lacoste in specially created uniforms. To support Lacoste’s presence at the Dubai World Expo, the brand’s eight stores located in the United Arab Emirates, have adopted the codes of the World Expo pop-up store reflecting the DNA of the brand and celebrating its heritage.
Expo 2020 Dubai has given the French brand a chance to showcase its heritage and its unique know-how. Created by tennis icon René Lacoste in 1933, the brand has stayed through to its French roots for almost a century. René Lacoste established his workshops in Troyes, French knitwear capital, to design the first iconic polo shirts in piqué cotton. Since then, the company has continued to produce in these same workshops and employs more than 2,200 people in France, from design and production to operations and distribution. At Lacoste, they contribute to promoting French know-how internationally.
Skincare brand Kiehl’s has opened its Expo 2020 Dubai boutique to visitors offering the latest products as well as some expo limited edition exclusive products. Located in the Jubilee Park District, the pop-up boutique is an ode to sustainability, innovation, and service; a true celebration of the Expo 2020 Dubai values. Customers will be able to enjoy and shop a limited-edition “Kiehl’s Loves Dubai” Expo 2020 Dubai collection, have access to exclusive launches available only at the Expo boutique, and experience the core values of Kiehl’s in exciting new ways.
“Kiehl’s has a longstanding heritage of supporting our environment and the local communities in which we serve.” Said Chahine Khadiga, General Manager L’Oréal Luxe, GCC & Levant. “Together with Expo, we are proud and humbled to showcase both our Local and International initiatives; whether its supporting children with our long-term partnership with Al Jalila Foundation for Children, our recycle and be rewarded worldwide & local operations, our new refillable formats, our 100% recyclable furniture in our stores and most recently our partnership with Emirates Nature – WWF”.