Präsenz Schweiz

Swiss pavilion – Expo 2020

Pavilion | Special Construction

Construction of the Swiss pavilion at the Dubai Expo 2020

The Swiss Pavilion, “Reflections”, offers visitors an impressive and surprising encounter with Switzerland in all its diversity – from its breathtaking landscapes to innovative projects and ideas for a sustainable future.


The reflections in the pavilion’s façade initially appear as physical “reflections”. It is a game of perspectives and mirror-inverted lettering. Only when one looks up at the façade of the pavilion the lettering is recognised.

Visitors enter the pavilion through a crystal cave, then hike – a very Swiss activity – through a sea of fog or travel to the top of mountains on a “magic carpet”. After enjoying a breathtaking mountain experience, they are immersed in a Swiss urban environment, where they can discover Switzerland as a leading innovation and technology hub.

Role of expomobilia

  • Realisation of the architect’s concept and implementation of the approved design

  • Responsibility as the general contractor: Complete custodianship of the pavilion and its premises until the official handover to FDFA Presence and completion on time and on budget

  • Maintaining and delivering Swiss quality whilst working under local conditions

  • Maintaining the Swiss brand identity and architectural sophistication by delivering to exacting Swiss standards

  • Sustainable procurement: local, rented, reusable or recyclable material

The path to success

The first challenge was to meet the budget stated in the tender process: Five companies were invited to the tender based on a design-to-cost approach of implementing the exact concept and design as created by OOS and Bellprat Partners.

Whilst the original architectural plan was modified to reduce the size of the pavilion’s area to meet the budget, expomobilia pushed the envelope with many cost efficient solutions.

Cost-effective and original solutions

  • Building services: A number of rooms were just ventilated instead of being temperature-controlled, reducing the usage of air-conditioning across the pavilion.

  • Expensive materials were used cost-efficiently: The massive mirror facade was made from a cheaper alternative, i.e., Alucobond instead of expensive mirrors.

  • The pavilion’s foundation was simplified without compromising on safety and quality, thereby reducing production costs significantly.

  • Used freight containers sourced locally were repurposed as office space and placed behind the pavilion, saving on expensive and time-consuming construction of temporary concrete office areas. Office space was relocated to converted freight containers behind the pavilion.

Challenges due to the pandemic

Building during the Covid-19 pandemic also presented challenges to the expomobilia team.

  • Frequent closure of site due to the pandemic-led lockdowns

  • Travel restrictions that prevented site engineers to work at site and they had to resort to working remotely

Technical details


Exhibition area ground floor: approx. 303m²
Exhibition area ground floor: approx. 320m²
Roof area: approx. 415m²

Service period

Construction: 06/2019 – 08/2021