You can tell that the Finland Pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020 was designed by happy people. It was made by Finns, who are the happiest people in the world according to the UN’s World Happiness Report.
“Finland is unique in that we have developed an infrastructure for happiness,” explains Teemu Kurkela, Founder of JKMM Architects who designed the Finland Pavilion. “Happiness is not a soft goal or a feeling. Instead, happiness is a conscious public policy goal when we develop things like health or education.”
Happiness is expressed in architecture where the human and wellbeing are in focus. Spaces can enhance a sense of solidarity between individuals and cultures.
“People like to find connections to each other, because we really aren’t that different,” Kurkela explains. “The front of the pavilion is similar to the traditional Arabic tent. Yet the white surface was inspired by the thin white layer of snow that covers the Finnish landscape in the beginning of every winter. This is two cultures touching.”
Human contact has been curtailed in recent months, but as we manage the pandemic we should once again look forward to happy meetings. The central gorge of the Finland
Pavilion is open to the public and was created as a place to meet. It is covered with curved wooden surfaces in a simple, minimalistic design.
“Architecture is a vessel for stories to be told, and the story will evolve over the course of the Expo,” says Kurkela. “I encourage people to attend and tell their own stories.”