The journey of Expo 2020 Dubai is to be commemorated in a series of luxury books, with the first four on sale now.
The coffee table-style books, which have been launched in collaboration with high-end publisher Assouline, focus on areas such as the design and architecture of the three Thematic Pavilions, the journey of creating the Vision Pavilion and the involvement of countries around the world.
Ahlam Bolooki, Director, Emirates Airline Festival of Literature, said: “It is really something that captures the essence of Expo in its entirety, tells the story of the entire journey from ideation to legacy in a really structured way – as difficult as that is. These books have done it in a very meaningful way.”
Bolooki was moderating a discussion panel at Terra Auditorium on Thursday (10 March) to celebrate the launch of the books, which cost from AED 500 to AED 4,000.
Prosper Assouline, Founder, Assouline, said: “This book was designed to be life after Expo, designed to capture the real DNA of each pavilion, and altogether these eight books are going to be the memories of this incredible moment that was created over 10 years.”
Ahmed Al Khatib, Chief Development and Delivery Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, spoke of the immense task of creating Expo 2020 Dubai and the incredible journey it has been for those involved from day one.
Ahmed Al Khatib said: “Our masterplan was changed and developed 29 times – that means we thought we had it all 29 times and then we changed. Planning time was very important – we spent about six months just planning. We looked at previous experiences, experts from all over the world, sat with organisers of previous Expos. Our main objective was very clear: to create an exceptional Expo, and a meaningful legacy.”
In 2015, construction began with the movement of more than five million cubic metres of sand. At the same time, Al Khatib said they were learning from Expo 2015 Milan – sending teams there in all capacities, from those watching construction to families experiencing the event, who would be interviewed afterwards.
It is that wealth of effort and attention to detail that will make these books unique, Al Khatib said: “This is very emotional. Writing a book means you have reached the end of a story and now it’s time to document it, and that story is very complex and long, and it’s important to record it, but it’s really hard to define the book. I believe we have created history, so it’s a history book. We have created beautiful architectural benchmarks across the world, so it’s an architectural book. We have created a landscaping journey, science experiences … it is so comprehensive of everything.”
Marjan Faraidooni, Chief Experience Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai, acknowledged the incredible challenge the team faced, crediting their honesty as key to creating together, adding that they were “all connected by this one mission of talking about things that mattered to humanity, and at the same time touched everybody”.
She also spoke of the importance of creating a world stage, but one that also reflected Dubai: “Every day we asked ourselves how will people know they are coming to a place that is the Arab world, that has Dubai in its DNA? Therefore you even see the sadu pattern, which is very intrinsic to our culture, integrated into signage – that is the amount of detail we went into … Nothing on this site is accidental.”
Discussing the book, she said: “To have these physical manifestations of the journey is a big part of the legacy of this World Expo, and we hope that these publications will be passed down generations and will be kept in public spaces in the UAE and around the world, so that people can remember what it is we have done, but more importantly get to know the journey to what that World Expo was.”
Text, photos and video: Expo Dubai 2020.