News

02/10/2018

Es Devlin to design UK Pavilion for Expo 2020

The UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai will be conceived by the award-winning artist and designer Es Devlin OBE and will highlight leading British expertise in Artificial Intelligence and Space. Titled "The POEM PAVILION", the project will be produced by the London and Dubai based global brand experience agency Avantgarde.

Devlin is known for creating stunning large-scale performative sculptures that fuse technology, poetry, light and sound, and The Poem Pavilion features a breathtaking illuminated ‘Message to Space’ to which each of the Expo’s anticipated 25 million visitors will be invited to contribute.

Devlin says: “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?

Devlin and her team of algorithm creators, sound and video designers are no strangers to Artificial Intelligence and mass audiences: Her luminous fluorescent red Fifth Lion sculpture roared A.I. generated collective poetry to crowds in Trafalgar Square during London Design Festival last week. The Singing Tree, her collective choral installation at the V&A, fused machine-learning with sound and light and was viewed by over ten million visitors during Christmas 2017; her design for the London Olympic Closing Ceremony reached a global TV audience of over a billion.
She said: "The U.K. has an unparalleled record in Expo design: from instigating the very first Expo in 1851 to the recent breathtaking pavilions of Thomas Heatherwick, Wolfgang Buttress, Asif Kahn and Brian Eno: it’s a true honour to be invited to take part."

It will be the first time since its inception in 1851 that the UK Pavilion has been conceived by a female designer and Devlin will be leading a predominantly female team of experts in Artificial Intelligence and Space technology. "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."

Devlin and Avantgarde will join forces with globally-renowned Manchester-based structural engineers Atelier One and award-winning sustainability engineers Atelier Ten to deliver the complex sculptural architecture of the Pavilion which will highlight innovative and sustainable building techniques and materials.