By Mina Vučić
Inspired by the past-shaping the future, the Serbian Expo 2020 pavilion will present modern Serbia as the natural successor of the Neolithic Vinča culture
Dubai is exited to welcome visitors from across the globe and prepare for a new stage of collaboration for a brighter tomorrow. Expo 2020 is set to make a mark on the country, region, and even beyond as the UAE will be the first nation in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia to host a World Expo, making it the largest global gathering since the outset of the pandemic. Igor Kovacevic, Director of the Serbian pavilion at Expo 2020, joined Mina Vucic to discuss the creation and concept behind the biggest yet Serbian pavilion. The Balkan nation has proudly been presenting its tradition, culture, achievements, and economy at the World Expos since 1885, winning 157 awards on their first appearance in Belgium.
What was the idea behind the Serbian Pavilion?
The theme of Serbia’s participation in the World Exhibition is “Serbia Creates Ideas – Inspired by the past-shaping the future”. Our pavilion will show that modern Serbia is the natural heir to the 7000-year-old Neolithic Vinča culture which changed the way humans lived and thrived. It will further demonstrate that the Serbia of the future is driven by the creative and innovative ideas of a number of exciting and inventive individuals, companies and organizations. By engaging and embedding Serbian content across all of Expo’s programs, we will position our country as an open, collaborative, innovative and resourceful nation.
“The Balkan nation has proudly been presenting its tradition, culture, achievements, and economy at the World Expos since 1885”
How do your former pavilions look like and what are your expectations for this one?
As a part of the global scene, Serbia, has been proudly presenting its tradition, achievements, culture and economy at the World Exhibition since 1885, in Antwerp, Belgium. During that first appearance, Kingdom of Serbia won remarkable 157 awards. In more recent history, Serbia had a 1000 m2 pavilion in Shanghai in 2010, whose interesting façade was inspired by a pattern of Pirot carpets. Our Pavilion in Dubai is the biggest and most impressive so far and we hope it will attract a great number of visitors with a unique style, design and architecture.
How is the theme of this pavilion different?
Pavilion visitors engage with Serbia on multiple levels, from delicious food to lively music, breath-taking videos as well as digital exhibits, presentations, and discussions. In our virtual exhibition, visitors become digital humans represented by avatars, able to meet and interact with others in real-time, wherever in the world they may be. Using holographic technology, we will enable both business and social encounters that were not possible before. By accessing the mobile app, visitors inside the pavilion will witness virtual guests, breaking down the barriers between the physical and the virtual world.
“By accessing the mobile app, visitors inside the pavilion will witness virtual guests, breaking down the barriers between the physical and the virtual world”
What will Serbia show through its participation in Expo 2020 Dubai?
During Expo 2020, we will show why Serbia is the 1st country in Europe for FDI, why it is the frontrunner in eGovernment, the way we proudly host a European Center of Excellence for ICT solutions for agriculture, how Belgrade was proclaimed one of the 5 most creative cities in the world, how Serbia became one of the most successful countries in dealing with the pandemic and immunization, as well as many other interesting facts about modern Serbia.
When did construction begin on the pavilion?
Works on site commenced on January 15th 2020. Unfortunately, the Covid 19 Pandemic disrupted the project timeline, especially for the fabrication and erection of the steel construction structures. The glass atrium and unique facade design was the most challenging work. We have 400 tons of steel construction that contains over 1200 individual steel element out of which 90% is specially designed and unique which require substantial time for final design, production and erection.
What are some of the next set of activities planned for the pavilion?
The Main Contractor of the pavilion, SAM Building Contracting LLC, along with AOR are now in the process of securing completion from various government authorities. Furthermore, testing and commissioning works have also commenced since the final permanent power was released to the Pavilion last month. Final finishing touches, AV installation, and Joinery works are some of the activities which are planned over the next few days.
“Our pavilion in Dubai is the biggest and most impressive so far, and we hope it will attract a great number of visitors with its unique style, design, and architecture”
What are some of the health and safety programmes you have implemented as part of the workers’ welfare on the site, both before and during COVID-19?
Worker welfare is very important to us. All workers’ accommodations are Expo approved prior to construction inspections. All workers are transported to and from the site in air-conditioned buses. The main contractor’s safety officer is present at the site as a safety consultant, providing all the workers with full PPE, rest areas, meal boxes, water coolers, first aid restrooms, face masks, gloves and sanitizers for their well being and protection.
What kind of technology have you used for the construction activities?
The basic construction of the pavilion is based on pre-engineered steel building software. The entire steel building was modelled in 3D TEKLA technology right down to the last bolt and connection. These models were then interfaced with MEP and architectural BIM models (Building Intelligent Modelling) to create virtual 3D of the pavilion prior to construction.