Dubai says “kon­nichiwa” to Ja­panese Pav­il­ion

The Ja­panese Pav­il­ion for Expo 2020 Dubai is a mix of Arab and Ja­panese char­ac­ter­is­tics,

The Gulf Today - Time Out - - ART - re­ports Muham­mad Yusuf OTHER HIGH­LIGHTS:

Expo 2020 Dubai (Oct. 20, 2020 - Apr. 10, 2021) has of­fered par­tic­i­pants­the­choice of ei­ther build­ing their own pavil­ions or rent them from or­gan­is­ers. Ja­pan had de­cided to build its own pav­il­ion. Re­veal­ing de­tails of the Ja­pan Pav­il­ion at a press con­fer­ence, Ja­pan Ex­ter­nal Trade Or­gan­i­sa­tion (Jetro) pro­jected a space that pays homage to Ara­bic de­sign and cul­ture, with Ja­panese aes­thet­ics.

“With the key word “Con­nect” (“Con­nect­ing Minds, Cre­at­ing the Fu­ture” is the Expo theme) we will com­mu­ni­cate to the world a clear vi­sion of our po­ten­tial in lead­ing a fu­ture so­ci­ety based on the spirit, tech­niques, cul­ture and other el­e­ments unique to Ja­pan”, say the peo­ple be­hind the pav­il­ion.

It is a “Cross­point for the fu­ture” which ap­peals to vis­i­tors to “Join. Sync. Act”. This is be­ing achieved through its ar­chi­tec­ture and de­sign con­cept, em­pha­sis­ing the con­nec­tion and cross­point of the Mid­dle East and Ja­pan, through the leg­endary Silk Road.

A model of the pav­il­ion was shown, which has a 3D lat­tice façade that cov­ers it with­Arabesque and Ja­panese Asanoha pat­terns. Asanoha is a com­mon and ver­sa­tile Ja­panese mo­tif.

Named for the asa (hemp) plant, its ori­gins are en­tirely geo­met­ric (com­prised of six di­a­monds) and as such, is con­sid­ered a sea­son­less geo­met­ric de­sign.

Asanoha can be com­bined with vir­tu­ally any other mo­tif, de­pend­ing on sea­son­al­ity, for­mal­ity, etc. It was of­ten used as a mo­tif on items for ba­bies, as par­ents hoped that in­fants wear­ing it would de­velop the vigour and tough­ness of the hemp plant.

The pav­il­ion will show dif­fer­ent faces, de­pend­ing on the an­gle and time of sun­light. The Ja­panese aes­thetic ex­pres­sion of light and shadow, val­ued since an­cient times, ind full play. The 3D lat­tice and the cu­bic tent struc­ture are de­signed to ex­press a va­ri­ety of light and shadow, as well as func­tions of shade and breeze. In ad­di­tion, the soft­ness of the façade will be ex­pressed by the cu­bic tent lut­ter­ing in the wind.

The pav­il­ion will also carry a con­tem­po­rary Ja­panese ver­sion of wa­ter and wind. The in­te­rior en­vi­ron­ment sys­tem will be made com­fort­able with the cy­cle of wa­ter. The ar­chi­tec­tural space, with cozy de­sign, will help air low or the wind. The pav­il­ion it­self is aimed to be an en­vi­ron­men­tally con­scious de­vice, with a sus­tain­able plan.

In “Join”, vis­i­tors will ex­pe­ri­ence “Omote­nashi”, or Ja­panese hos­pi­tal­ity, in a tea sa­lon like at­mos­phere, where one is wel­comed equally, be­yond sta­tus or bound­ary. Dif­fer­ent na­tion­al­i­ties, ages, pref­er­ences and tastes will get to­gether and take a step to­ward get­ting to know each other.

“Sync” is where vis­i­tors will ex­plore a large unique space, ex­pe­ri­enc­ing the world’s big chal­lenges, us­ing their five senses with a goal of stim­u­lat­ing thoughts on how to re­solve them. Vis­i­tors will not only en­counter the lat­est Ja­panese tech­nolo­gies, but will syn­chro­nise with Ja­panese tra­di­tions, cul­ture, arts and sim­i­lar things.

Vis­i­tors from var­i­ous back­grounds and thoughts will

“Act” and have the chance to find pos­si­bil­i­ties of co-cre­ation to face chal­lenges. They will re­alise every­one feels the same way, when con­fronted by changes and chal­lenges.

To sum up, en­trants to the pav­il­ion will be en­ter­tained and in­formed in an im­mer­sive high­tech space, pre­sent­ing Ja­panese in­ter­pre­ta­tions of wa­ter, wind and light, lead­ing them to ex­pe­ri­ence a world of prob­lem solv­ing and res­o­lu­tions, based on peo­ple, ideas and tech­nolo­gies.

* Events: It will be a work­shop ex­pe­ri­ence, merg­ing mod­ern tech­nol­ogy and tra­di­tional prin­ci­ples of de­sign

* Cui­sine: Co-cre­ation of fu­sion recipes by Ja­panese culi­nary art and lo­cal food

* Pre­sen­ta­tions: It will show­case a di­verse range of fash­ion, fus­ing dif­fer­ent cul­tures and ma­te­ri­als.

Prin­ci­pal Ar­chi­tect Yuko Na­gayama of Yuko Na­gayama As­so­ciates, the main cre­ator of the pav­il­ion, spoke to Time Out about the build­ing.

Born in Tokyo, she es­tab­lished the Yuko Na­gayama Build­ing De­sign in 2002. A de­signer of many re­mark­able build­ings and a win­ner of many awards, the hon­ours she has won in­clude Nakanoshima Shinkansen Sta­tion Plan­ning De­sign Com­pe­ti­tion Ex­cel­lence Award (2004) and the Tokyo Metropoli­tan Ar­chi­tec­ture Award Ex­cel­lence Award “God­dess For­est Cen­tral Gar­den” (2018).

OVER TO NA­GAYAMA: * WHAT ARE THE CHAL­LENGES IN BUILD­ING IN A DESERT EN­VI­RON­MENT?

The dif­fi­cult chal­lenge is keep­ing off the heat and cre­at­ing a com­fort­able space. The so­lu­tion in this case is ap­plied to the fa­cade/ ar­chi­tec­ture struc­ture for this project.

* WHAT MA­TE­RI­ALS ARE YOU US­ING IN CON­STRUC­TION?

The fa­cade is com­posed of steel and mem­brane. The ar­chi­tec­ture is steel con­struc­tion.

* WHAT AS­PECTS OF ARAB/MUS­LIM CUL­TURE AT­TRACT YOU MOST?

I am in­ter­ested in arabesque and beau­ti­ful ar­chi­tec­tural styles. Cre­ation in ab­stract forms and the Mus­lim world­view are ex­tremely pro­found to me as well.

* ARE THERE COM­MON FAC­TORS BE­TWEEN JA­PANESE AND ARAB CUL­TURES?

I found com­mon­al­ity in Ja­panese pat­terns and Arabesque and used it as a mo­tif of the ar­chi­tec­ture. The nat­u­ral world has in­lu­enced Ja­panese pat­terns. The geo­met­ric pat­terns (of arabesque) have math­e­mat­i­cal as­pects. The ab­stracted nat­u­ral forms of both (arabesque and na­ture) have deep con­no­ta­tions. I think the Arabesque de­picts the uni­ver­sal Is­lamic world­view in the mo­tif of na­ture.

* WHAT IS THE MES­SAGE OF YOUR BUILD­ING FOR EXPO 2020 DUBAI?

New ideas come from a com­bi­na­tion of Ja­panese and Ara­bic cul­tures, which have deep, past con­nec­tions. By con­nect­ing past wis­dom to newer gen­er­a­tions through the use of new ar­chi­tec­tural styles, it is pos­si­ble to push on­wards towards the fu­ture.

* HOW MANY PEO­PLE CAN THE PAV­IL­ION AC­COM­MO­DATE AT ONE TIME?

Five hun­dred peo­ple.

* HOW HAS IT BEEN DI­VIDED INTO OF­FICE, SHOP­PING, EX­HI­BI­TION, PUB­LIC AND OTHER SPA­CES?

It is di­vided into four sto­ries. The first floor has a restau­rant. The sec­ond and third loors are for ex­hi­bi­tions. The fourth loor is VIP space. Out­side the pav­il­ion, there is space on wa­ter for loat­ing events.

* WHO ARE THE AR­CHI­TECTS WHO HAVE IN­FLU­ENCED YOU IN YOUR WORK?

My ex-boss Ja­panese ar­chi­tect Aoki Jun and Her­zog & de Meu­ron.

* CAN YOU TELL US SOME­THING OF HOW MANY TRIPS YOU MADE TO THE SITE AND WHAT WERE YOUR LEARN­ING EX­PE­RI­ENCES DUR­ING THE TRIPS?

When I was a stu­dent, I stayed in Abu Dhabi for one month. In July, I vis­ited the site after I was se­lected as an ar­chi­tect for Dubai Expo. It was on this visit that I thought I would like to use a wind-catcher and wa­ter for this project.

* HAS THE FACT THAT BOTH JA­PAN AND THE UAE ARE LO­CATED BY THE SEA MADE AN IM­PACT ON YOUR WORK FOR THE EXPO 2020 DUBAI BUILD­ING?

This time, wa­ter is the one of the most sig­ni­icant fac­tors. For the both coun­tries, wa­ter is an in­te­gral part of their cul­ture. In Ja­pan, we gain beneits from the ocean but are threat­ened by it some­times as well.

The Ja­panese unique spir­i­tu­al­ity is in co-ex­is­tence with ocean. Ja­panese tech­nol­ogy also con­trib­utes to the de­sali­na­tion sys­tem in the UAE!

Mo­bil­ity Pav­il­ion, Expo 2020 Dubai.

Sus­tain­abil­ity Pav­il­ion, Expo 2020 Dubai.

UAE Pav­il­ion, Expo 2020 Dubai.

This is how the Ja­panese Pav­il­ion will look at night.

Yuko Na­gayama

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