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first look at expo 2025 osaka, from fujimoto’s masterplan to the national pavilions

what we know so far about expo 2025 osaka 


Expo 2025 Osaka will soon come to life as an international fair that brings together people and innovations from around the world to address issues facing mankind on a global scale. Running from April 13th to October 13th, 2025, the program will be held on the artificial island of Yumeshima in Osaka, Kansai, Japan — 55 years after Asida held its first world fair in 1970. Dubbed Designing Future Society for Our Lives, the 2025 theme responds to the unprecedented pace at which environmental changes are kicking in, coupled with the disruptive forces instigated by the Covid-19 pandemic. In light of this paradigm shift, the world’s fair invites exhibitors to reconsider our way of life through sustainable solutions powered by technological innovations. 


Revealed back in December 2020, the new Masterplan design for Expo 2025 Osaka will be developed Sou Fujimoto as a huge, ring-shaped structure that serves as the main circulation path. The Japanese architect shared details of his vision in a recent interview with designboom:The roof not only protects people from sunlight and rain but is also enormous, with a diameter of almost 700 meters. We are designing it using a wooden structure, which presents unique challenges due to the scale and materials involved. However, Japan has a wonderful tradition of historical wood construction, and I aim to draw inspiration from it and blend it with new technology in the construction process. This work is not only a wonderful trial for working on such a large scale but also an exciting challenge in terms of innovative construction techniques.’


From Sou Fujimoto’s impressive Masterplan design to unveiling the first national pavilion proposals, here’s what we know so far about the upcoming Expo 2025 Osaka that is set to take shape in Japan.

first look at expo 2025 osaka, from fujimoto’s masterplan to the national pavilions
the new Masterplan for Expo 2025 Osaka | render © Sou Fujimoto Architects via Instagram



sou fujimoto’s masterplan to rise as a giant timber ring roof


For the Expo 2025 Osaka Masterplan, jointly with Tohata Architects & Engineers and Azusa Sekkei, Sou Fujimoto (see more here) proposes a 60,000 sqm green roof structure made of timber. Spanning about 700 meters in diameter, the design reflects traditional Japanese timber construction and will serve as the venue’s main circulation ring, provide scenic vistas from above while protecting visitors from rain and sun exposure. ‘On the rooftop, visitors can go up and experience a lifted surface that resembles a bank, allowing them to appreciate the sky above and feel completely immersed in the environment. As the location is in the middle of Osaka Bay, no tall structures are around, offering a clear view of the sky in a pure circle,’ Fujimoto told designboom. 

first look at expo 2025 osaka, from fujimoto’s masterplan to the national pavilions
60,000 sqm timber green roof structure | render © Sou Fujimoto Architects via Instagram





Expo 2025 Osaka is expecting to host 150 nations, including The Netherlands, which has recently announced its participation under the theme of ‘Common Ground: creating a new dawn together.’ This vision explores new technologies that harness the power of water to produce emission-free energy, providing access to clean power for all. Responding to the theme, the Pavilion will take shape as a circular design with an illuminated sphere, or abstracted ‘rising sun’, that will shine brightly at the center to symbolize infinite clean energy, sustainability, and circularity. Water, as an abundant and clean energy source, plays a prominent role, elegantly reflected in the facade and roof. An important design element is its ability to be dismantled and reassembled as needed. The project is a collaboration between RAU Architects, engineering consultancy DGMR, experience design studio Tellart, and Japanese construction company Asanuma. (Read more here)

first look at expo 2025 osaka, from fujimoto’s masterplan to the national pavilions
The Netherlands Pavilion | render © Plomp





Joining The Netherlands is the Czech Republic, with a dynamic glass spiral structure designed by international studio Apropos Architects. Called ‘Sculpting Vitality’, the proposal arises as a transparent sculpture that is visible on the city’s coastal promenade. The architects sought to play with the concept of vitality and movement, presenting an exhibition ramp wrapped around a central auditorium. ‘The dynamic spiral movement upwards is an allegory of the ideal life path,’ describes the team. The resulting structure sees a distinctive silhouette that fosters visitors into physical activity through continuous motion. Its glazed body that pivots upwards around itself recalls the rich history of glassmaking in the Czech Republic and provides distinctive exhibition spaces with a changing interior atmosphere. The artificial light throughout the interior gives the structure a delicate glow that makes it shine from the outside. (Read more here)

first look at expo 2025 osaka, from fujimoto’s masterplan to the national pavilions
Czech Republic Pavilion | image © ZAN studio





Up next is the winning design for the Italian Pavilion by Mario Cucinella Architects (MCA). The proposal titled ‘La Città Ideale’ reflects a modern interpretation of the Ideal City, a symbolic image of the Italian Renaissance. More specifically, MCA’s project spotlights the country’s vision of a social space based on integration, inclusivity, and a culture of hands-on engagement founded on real relationships and interactions — well-represented by concepts deeply rooted in the Italian tradition, like the ‘piazza’ (public square), ‘teatro’ (theater), and ‘giardino’ (garden). The Pavilion’s flexibility and adaptability will also allow it to host the Holy See: a spacious and recognizable area that facilitates the organization of cultural events and major art exhibitions. 

first look at expo 2025 osaka, from fujimoto’s masterplan to the national pavilions
Italy Pavilion | render © Mario Cucinella Architects via Expo 2025 Osaka.it 





What lies in the place between lives?‘ is the question that guided the design of the Japanese Pavilion for Expo 2025 Osaka. Architecture studio Nikken Sekkei joined forces with Oki Sato and Yoshiaki Irobe to conceptualize that query. The trio was effectively inspired by the tiny cyclical loops and interconnected dynamics that make up the natural world. In other words, when one life ends, another begins, and so on. The visual system at the Pavilion therefore materializes as a living organism that breathes, grows, and multiplies — ever-evolving and changing. ‘It represents the purpose of the Pavilion: to turn our eyes toward that which lies between lives, and impress guests with memories, not of a design, but of a process,’ comments the team



Japan Pavilion | render © Nikken Sekkei




Switzerland’s presence at Expo 2025 will focus on the three thematic areas of ‘Life’ (life sciences, health, and nutrition), ‘Planet’ (environment, sustainability, climate, and energy), and ‘Augmented human’ (robotics and artificial intelligence). The teams at NüssliManuel Herz Architekten and Bellprat Partner were selected to develop their proposal: an architecture composed of five spheres embedded into a green landscape. Beyond its impressive shape, the Pavilion will also hold the smallest ecological footprint. ‘The shell of the exhibition spaces is composed of a foil supported by a lightweight construction. It weighs no more than 400kg – just 1% of a conventional building shell – and can be transported with two to three cargo bikes. The foil is recyclable and will be made into specially designed furniture after the Expo,’ writes House of Switzerland. 

first look at expo 2025 osaka, from fujimoto’s masterplan to the national pavilions
Switerzland Pavilion | render via House of Switzerland 





Meanwhile, through its Doki Doki theme, the Luxembourg Pavilion will bring an interactive experience to the table, focusing on the importance of circularity (or the circular economy). In Japanese, Doki Doki refers to the sound of a beating heart filled with excitement, and the Luxembourg Pavilion will leverage this concept, turning it into the ‘red thread of visitors’ experience‘. Architecture practice STEINMETZDEMEYER will lead the design, jointly with jangled nerves, in charge of the scenography. In line with the circularity concept, the Pavilion will also focus on reusing and recycling its materials. 

first look at expo 2025 osaka, from fujimoto’s masterplan to the national pavilions
Luxembourg Pavilion | render © STEINMETZDEMEYER



signature pavilions at expo 2025 osaka 


As part of Expo 2025 Osaka, the Japan Association will organize The Signature Project, a core initiative to be held from Pavilions located in the center of the venue and designed by eight ‘producers’. These Pavilions are called Signature Pavilions and will hold Signature Events where ‘a variety of experiences combining the real and virtual worlds [will encourage] all visitors to explore life and update their idea of life,’ writes the association. The selected spaces are: Co-being by Hiroaki Miyata, Future of Life by Hiroshi Ishiguro, Playground of Life – Jellyfish Pavilion by Sachiko Nakajima, null² by Yoichi Ochiai, Dynamic Equilibrium of Life by Shin-Ichi Fukuoka, Live Earth Journey by Shoji Kawamori, Earth Mart by Kundo Koyama and to exist by Naomi Kawase. 

first look at expo 2025 osaka, from fujimoto’s masterplan to the national pavilions
Earth Mart by Kundo Koyama | image © the producer via Expo 2025 Osaka on Twitter 


null² by Yoichi Ochiai | image © the producer via Expo 2025 Osaka on Twitter


Expo 2025 Osaka is set to debut on April 13, 2025, and wrap up on October 13, 2025 and will center around the theme ‘Design Future Society for Our Lives.’ The selection of Osaka, Kansai, Japan, as the host city for Expo 2025, was selected by the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE). You can learn more about the upcoming international fair here



project info:


name: Expo 2025 Osaka | @expo2025japan

location: Osaka, Kansai, Japan

running dates: April 13 – October 13, 2025 

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