clement blanchet X AREP propose light and plants as main components of france pavilion at expo 2020 dubai

clement blanchet X AREP propose light and plants as main components of france pavilion at expo 2020 dubai

clément blanchet architecture and etienne tricaud (AREP) reveal their shortlisted design proposal for the france pavilion at expo 2020 dubai. the proposal is intended as a device to enhance, at once, the virtual world and the real one, to support human communication, cultures, and interactions. built around the themes of light (as a display and as a vector of ideas and philosophy) and mobility, the pavilion seeks to interpret them within a sustainable and a one-off building.

clement blanchet X AREP propose light and plants as main components of expo 2020 dubai france pavilion designboom



a testimony of the current industrial and digital revolution, the project convenes a local approach within a global challenge. the design intent is structured around seven main considerations:




1 – thinking program not casing: too often pavilions are just decorated supermarkets designed to sell. the architects offer a pavilion that reflects architecture as a process and a medium of expression, not a fashion decision.


2 – being noticeable: a world expo is a place of artificial wonders, like a disneyland for architecture. how does one pavilion stand out from the others? by being radical and visible from everywhere. the architects claim they designed the core of the pavilion as a big magnet capable of attracting visitors from far away.


3 – addressing the context: the form of the pavilion is the result of its climate conditions. both sun and wind direction decided the position of the magnet-like wall. first of all facing south to protect the parvis, and then extruded and transformed into two facing walls acting as a funnel to catch the freshness of the wind.


4 – managing the queue: once created, the wind funnel was the perfect place for people to wait, in the shade enjoying the wind flow. to enhance this comfort, the architects propose that the two walls are fully covered in vegetation, transforming this place in a protected and unexpected oasis.


5 – engaging the public: the outside wall acts as a spectacular screen (27×60 meters) for projections at night, while the inside walls are transformed into a fully artificial vertical garden. digital projection and tangible vegetation in one place.


6 – structuring with the fluxes: the pavilion needs to be as respectful as possible to the demands of the client, both in terms of efficiency and adaptability.


7 – a light pavilion: finally the list of demands, limitations, comfort, and ambitions come together to make a pavilion truly representative of a country and its philosophy of design.

clement blanchet X AREP propose light and plants as main components of expo 2020 dubai france pavilion designboom



the spectacular screen-like facade of the pavilion is designed to leave an indelible mark on people’s mind, by day and by night. during the daytime, it acts as solar protection shielding the entrance plaza with its long shadow and displaying a huge clear stone wall, turning translucent in the evening, thus showing off the beauty and warmness of backlit stones. by nighttime, the screen comes alive, displaying paintings, landscapes and video art for everyone to see from the concourse and from the public terrace of the pavilion. light creates a new feeling for architecture and encourages proximity and discussion. as the visitors will passively absorb the endless flows of digital advertising or interact alone with a handheld device, the pavilion will engage them and create new windows on the world for everyone to look through, together.


clement blanchet X AREP propose light and plants as main components of expo 2020 dubai france pavilion designboom




clement blanchet X AREP propose light and plants as main components of expo 2020 dubai france pavilion designboom




project info:


architects: clément blanchet architecture x etienne tricaud x AREP

client: cofrex

status: design proposal

date: 2018

location: dubai expo 2020

area: 4,000 sqm

design team: clément blanchet, etienne tricaud, alan murray, arthur gaudenz, frederic mallet, doan duc, arthur adam

engineering team: map3 ingénierie, terrell, franck boutté consultants

images: plomp

landscape architect: michel desvignes

expert consultant: vinci construction grands projets, les eclaireurs

model: hervé cadestin


designboom has received this project from our ‘DIY submissions‘ feature, where we welcome our readers to submit their own work for publication. see more project submissions from our readers here.


edited by: maria erman | designboom

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