Dubai: For the fourth year in a row, the 2021 World Happiness Report crowned Finland the happiest country in the world amidst a raging pandemic. Curious onlookers now have the opportunity to flock to the heart of the scene at Expo 2020 Dubai to unravel the secrets of the Finnish lifestyle on display at the Finland Pavilion in the Mobility District of the world fair.
A ‘snow-cape’ pavilion
JKMM Architects, the designers behind the cubic pavilion, will cool the desert heat by bringing Finnish snowfall to the UAE. What visitors will encounter will be more than just a white frontal facade; the pavilion takes inspiration from the first layer of snowfall heralding long Nordic winters.
The Helsinki-based firm merges traditional nomadic culture in its architectural design, where the snow-capped pavilion also doubles as an Arabic tent, the entrance to which resembles an open tent flap.
At the core, visitors will find themselves in a deep circular gorge surrounded by the gentle lapping sounds of shallow water pools. A nod to Finnish Modernist architecture and design, the curved lattice made of Finnish wood invites tranquillity and warmth through the sun shining down the roofless peak, contrasting with the highly sensory experience of the world fair.
When visiting the gorge, visitors will experience Finland's deep connection to nature and how quiet contemplation is often the source of the country’s many innovations. A similar structure already enjoyed by residents of Finland's capital city, Helsinki, is the Kamppi Chapel, otherwise known as the 'Chapel of Silence’.
"When visiting the gorge, visitors will experience Finland's deep connection to nature and how quiet contemplation is often the source of the country’s many innovations. A similar structure already enjoyed by residents of Finland's capital city Helsinki is the Kamppi Chapel, otherwise known as the 'Chapel of Silence’," says Severi Keinälä, Commissioner General of the Finland Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, in an interview with Gulf News.
Another feature that takes inspiration from natural Finnish landscapes is the mini lakes at the entrance of the pavilion. Home to 188,887 lakes, the 'Land of a Thousand Lakes' holds water as an integral part of its Finnish identity. Additionally, visitors will find Finnish granite-reflecting mosaic designs at the bottom of the pools.
"Water is also profoundly rooted in Finland's DNA. As one of the most water-rich countries globally, this precious commodity is vital for our economy and citizen wellbeing," Keinälä adds.
A Finnish well of happiness
Main exhibitions at the Finnish pavilion centre on ‘Sharing future happiness’, trickling down to additional three subthemes based on circular economy, sustainability and innovations.
Be prepared to take notes on what makes the Finnish people the happiest on the planet through an in-depth exploration of the country’s strengths in the fields of technology, sustainable development, education and wellbeing.
The Finnish exhibition will share an in-depth story of Finland, providing visitors with experiences and information to showcase the foundations upon which Finland's happiness is based.
Avoiding waste by recycling scarce resources is just some of the ways the Nordic nation is making strides in sustainability. Finland will offer further solutions with the expertise of being the first country to create a circular economy roadmap in the world.
100 Finnish companies
Partners to the pavilion make up more than a hundred Finnish companies, who will share their stories under the thematic groups of natural resources and energy cycles, smart city solutions, ICT and digitalisation, technology, health, education, consumer design and tourism.
Multinational firms such as the telecommunications company Nokia and the elevator manufacturer KONE are also key and national partners of the pavilion. KONE will lend one of its newer DX (Digital Experience) class elevators for VIP visitors, packed with digital services such as a voice command user interface that allows contactless use of the lift.
Visitors using the pavilion lift will experience a customised interior set up by the partner companies, who can use KONE's digital experience solution to promote their brand. The DX class elevator's multisensory experience is possible with built-in Application Programming Interfaces (APIs) and KONE's digital services platform.
Representing Finnish innovations and technological knowhow, the roster of businesses will share success stories at the universal expo.
Antimicrobial furnishing at Finland Majlis
Another aspect of the pavilion incorporates Arab elements into the topmost floor, an area largely dedicated to conferences, seminars, workshops and other events.
The 500-square-metre VIP lounge is laid out in the tradition of a majlis, or ‘council’, furnished by sustainable Finnish furniture manufacturer Isku.
Isku, the first in the world to develop antimicrobial furniture, is bringing its state-of-the-art technology and interior to Expo. A bacteria-resisting furniture collection means lower risk of contamination and infection, and a cleaner environment. It's a timely solution for the post-pandemic world - and a real reason to be happy.
- The writer is an intern to Gulf News.