Created as one of three thematic pavilions at the coronavirus-delayed Dubai Expo 2020, the Mobility Pavilion looks at the “past, present and future of movement” through a series of immersive spaces.
MET Studio chose not to exhibit varied forms of transport, but focus on the “spirit of mobility” for the installations.
“Rather than simply focusing on planes, trains and automobiles, we wanted the story to reference the human spirit of mobility,” said MET Studio creative director Peter Karn.
“As a species, we have always asked ‘where to next?’ This formed the basis of our story.”
Visitors to the pavilion, which was designed by UK studio Foster+ Partners, enter the building from one of three entrances placed between its three distinctive large petals that cantilever outwards from the building’s base.
They are then raised in a circular passenger lift, which the expo’s organisers claim is the largest in the world and can hold 160 people, to the top of the pavilion.
From here they descend through the immersive exhibitions, which were arranged in three large galleries – one within each of the building’s petal forms.
“We created three distinct ‘acts’ featuring key characters, depicted as giants of mobility,” said Karn.
“Each character is from a totally different moment in history but they all share the same passion of looking beyond, creating our future – whether an Arab scholar, a tech expert or a child dreaming of infinite possibilities.”
The first gallery is focused on the history of transport and is arranged around photo-realistic figures of three people from the Islamic Golden Age.
The nine-metre-tall characters were created by New Zealand-based special effects and prop company Weta Workshop, which is best known for its work on The Lord of the Rings film trilogy.
Surrounding the characters is a wall relief that depicts the history of transportation.
In the second gallery, which is focused on the modern day, current movements of people, goods and information around the world are projected onto a large globe.
Screens also show a series of interviews and visitors can have their face digitally placed within a model of an astronaut.
The third gallery focuses on the future and “a vision of the city of tomorrow” with bright colours depicting the flow of data.
“Each act, although connected through the narrative has a very distinct and varied approach,” said Karn.
“It was really important to us that audiences were going to constantly be surprised by each new section.”
MET Studio aimed to create a series of installations that use a wide range of media to keep visitors entertained.
“The story of mobility is such a huge subject and cannot be told by a single statement,” explained Karn.
“As well as the large-scale spectacle, layered within each of the acts are inspiring stories and messages that are meaningful.”
“It was crucial to underpin all of the narratives with real facts, data and history so that this experience was of cultural and educational value,” he continued.
“A strong cinematic and theatrical approach to the design means visitors are engaged but also they are able to learn about the human story of mobility through the ages.”
Karn hopes that the installations will change visitors’ perceptions of mobility.
“We want the experience to have a transformative effect on how audiences understand human mobility,” he said.
“If visitors walk out with a feeling that where we’ve been and where we are going are of equal importance and understanding this can shape our future for the better, we’ve done our job.”
The Mobility Pavilion is one of the numerous pavilions at Dubai Expo, which is is the latest World Expo. Dezeen recently rounded up the ten must-see pavilions at the event.
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