Anders G Lonnberg, Commissioner-General of the Committee for Sweden’s Participation at Expo 2020 Dubai talks about the Swedish Pavilion and its theme
How did the idea for the pavilion come about?
When starting the creative process behind the Swedish pavilion, the question posed by all three consultant architects was — What is Swedish? The answer was unanimous; we all had the same picture of Sweden in mind with the forest and wooden construction. When overlooking the vast land of Sweden, you realize how much of the country that is covered with forest. Even close to the capital Stockholm, one may find several forests.
Constructing the pavilion entirely out of wood is also part of the strong Swedish focus on sustainability. By using wood instead of steel or concrete, we are reducing our impact on the climate. In fact, once fully constructed, the Swedish pavilion will bind up to 2,000 tons of carbon dioxide. That it truly impressive!
The Swedish pavilion “The Forest” is therefore a fusion of dense Nordic woodland and Arabic geometric design, bringing together the two cultures.
Please elaborate on Sweden’s Expo 2020 Theme Co-creation for innovation.
Swedes have for a long time collaborated and co-created. It is natural in Sweden that if we utilize knowledge from all sectors and put it together into something new, you can do a lot of good, both for us in Sweden and abroad. Co-creation for innovation therefore becomes a natural theme in our pavilion.
“The design of our pavilion, The Forest — situated in the Sustainability district, is more of a statement in itself, as the actual construction in wood for us becomes an act of sustainability.”
We would like visitors to feel enlightened, boosted with energy and with a feeling that they can contribute. During our co-creative sessions, we will invite visitors to co-create new solutions for a sustainable future based on innovation, creativity, societal needs and sustainability. During their free stroll in the Forest, the visitors are offered a series of diversified and unexpected experiences in a fully connected and interactive environment.
The UAE and Sweden are key trading partners. How does Sweden seek to gain traction through Expo 2020, both culturally and economically?
Given the fact that this is the first Expo to be organized in the Middle East, it provides the UAE and the region with great opportunity to present itself in a positive spirit. We are looking forward to creating stronger business ties to the region and to create a platform on which we can improve the exports of Swedish companies to create growth.
Which are the Swedish business partners or brands that will find representation at the Sweden Pavilion. How were the brands selected?
The funds provided by the government are conditional on the promise of the business sector to finance half of the total cost, 180 million SEK. Today we work with both larger and smaller companies as well as with industry and regional clusters. Our official partners as of today are Volvo, AstraZeneca, LKAB, Ericsson, SAAB, Axis and Elekta.
Could you throw some light on the unique events, exhibitions etc, that Sweden will be hosting at the Sweden Pavilion?
Expo 2020 in Dubai provides a global platform to showcase Swedish ambition for the future. Through a strong collaboration between the government, private sector, academia and civil society, the Swedish pavilion will present the very best and innovative solutions that are necessary to meet tomorrow’s challenges. This time, the design of our pavilion the Forest — situated in the Sustainability district, is more of a statement in itself, as the actual construction in wood for us becomes an act of sustainability. For Sweden’s National Expo Day, 15 December 2020, we have something very special planned in the true spirit of Alfred Nobel, and that promises high-level attendance.