Award-winning British artist and designer Es Devlin will be in charge of designing the UK Pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai. Devlin is known for designing the London Olympic Closing Ceremony and the Rio Olympic Opening Ceremony as well as conceiving touring stage sculptures in collaboration with Beyonce, Kanye West, U2, Adele, The Weeknd, The Royal Opera House, and The National Theatre.
True to her trademark passion of fusing technology, light, sound, and poetry, Devlin's pavilion design aims to highlight Britain's expertise in artificial intelligence and space technology by illuminating the LED facade with an AI-generated "Message to Space" which the Expo's anticipated 25 million visitors will be encouraged to contribute to.
Es Devlin and her predominantly female team will be the first non-male designers to conceptualize the British Pavilion since the very first Expo was instigated in 1851.
Here's how Devlin explains her concept behind the pavilion design: "The idea draws directly on one of Stephen Hawking’s final projects, ‘Breakthrough Message’, a global competition that Hawking and his colleagues conceived in 2015 inviting people worldwide to consider what message we would communicate to express ourselves as a planet, should we one day encounter other advanced civilizations in Space. What if the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 becomes a place where visitors from all over the world take part in a collective global project that showcases British expertise in A.I. technologies and poetry while transcending national identities?”
Asked about the importance of being the UK Pavilion's first female designer, Devlin replied: "We urgently need to address the underrepresentation of women in STEAM (Science, technology, engineering, art and maths) occupations. I’ve learned from my collaboration with the theoretical physicist Carlo Rovelli, that the evolution of scientific thought is often through the contribution of artists, musicians and philosophers as well as physicists. My hope is that the fusion of architecture, poetry, music and science in this female-led project will attract and inspire girls and young women to investigate areas of science and technology that they might otherwise have felt weren’t for them."
To turn the highly conceptual vision into a functioning pavilion, Devlin's team will collaborate with executive architects Veretec, structural engineers Atelier One, sustainability engineers Atelier Ten, and creative agency Avantgarde.
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