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Latvia digs 'SOIL' for Dubai EXPO

On March 11, the Latvian Investment and Development Agency (LIAA) signed an agreement on the development and implementation of the Latvian National Pavilion concept for the EXPO exhibition in Dubai.

The exhibition is scheduled to open on October 1 this year and will run until March 31, 2022, after being postponed last year, provided the ongoing pandemic doesn't push it back again.

The winning project comes from a consortium of three companies and is a concept with the down-to-earth name 'SOIL'.

"The concept envisages a solution implemented in four dimensions, the central element of which will be peat as a unique material that is able to connect the history of Latvia with the present and future achievements," said a statement from LIAA.

“We want to create the Latvian pavilion EXPO 2020 as a story about Latvia, from history to the present and future... Peat is a very symbolic and characteristic material of Latvia. This will create a special aura in the pavilion and an unusual environment for the Middle East," said Kaspars Rožkalns, LIAA director of the Dubai-bound project.

Latvia EXPO 'SOIL' concept

The promotion of information and communication technologies, pharmaceuticals and medical equipment, innovative construction materials and technologies, transport and logistics, as well as the food segment will be priority areas given the SOIL treatment, he added.

Concept photos show folk wandering round a pavilion that does indeed look like it is made from peat, a product of decomposition in wetland areas and therefore in notably short supply amid the desert expanses of Dubai and the other emirates. Amid the peat-colored pillars, transparent video screens display some sort of information which arrests the attention of one man, while another, who looks like a hipster, hurries off in search of a cooling ice frappuccino. 

One image shows folk in shirts (presumably a nod to the customarily high temperatures) receiving a talk about Latvia in a seminar room that is either sparsely attended or socially distanced. At the back of the room another visitor loiters as if wondering whether he's allowed to sit down or whether he should proceed to the next pavilion and find out about Latvia later in the day when things have cooled down a bit.

A third image shows a display room in which curious visitors examine objects presented on small raised platforms rendered in a peat-like style. These items include a bicycle, a chair, some geometric shapes, glass bowls, and a lumpy gray thing that is not easily identifiable. Visitors mill around, with only the bicycle attracting the attention of a woman in high heels.

Again, another visitor loiters with an air of indecision in the doorway. A couple on an adjacent balcony admire the view. Meanwhile a bald man in a black suit discusses lunch with a companion in an immaculate white kandura.

In fact visitors will only get 4 minutes in each of 4 rooms, with one minute to transition between each, giving a total visitor experience time of 20 minutes. Each of the rooms can accommodate up to 8 people, which means that 32 people can be in the entire pavilion at once, though one of the design images appears to show ten people in a single room.

Latvia EXPO 'SOIL' concept

The 'SOIL' concept was developed by the companies DJA, SOLAVI and AD PRODUCTION and the contract is worth 925,887.79 euros (excluding VAT). In total, four applicants participated in the design tender for the creation of the Latvian pavilion's exposition.

So far, LIAA has held five online seminars for entrepreneurs, inviting them to participate in the exhibition. At present, 35 companies from various industries have already confirmed their participation.

Entrepreneurs and interested parties are invited to find out more at the Latvian EXPO 2020 website: www.expo2020.lv. The official website of the whole event is: https://www.expo2020dubai.com/ 

Latvia’s participation in the EXPO 2020 is organized by the Ministry of Economics of Latvia in cooperation with the Investment and Development Agency of Latvia.

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