Work on the Italian pavilion for Expo 2020 Dubai is pressing on despite movement restrictions owing to the coronavirus outbreak.
Planners said shipments of electrical and engineering equipment needed to build the exhibit continue to arrive in the country.
Eighty pillars of steel and concrete that will make up the Italian pavilion are already visible on the Dubai South Expo site.
Hulls of three overturned boats painted white, red and green will be placed on the structure to resemble a giant wave covering the exhibition space.
Paolo Glisenti, Italy’s commissioner general for Expo 2020 Dubai, described the event, now postponed due to Covid-19, as the “first big global event after the pandemic”.
He said he was confident the attraction would provide a significant boost to the nation’s economy as well as local communities.
“We will be bringing large, medium-sized and small companies along to demonstrate their innovative capacity,” he said.
“We will be creating opportunities to attract new investments from the Middle East and Asia, and we will be helping to generate consistent tourism streams.”
Expo 2020 Dubai was initially scheduled to open in October this year but will now take place in 2021.
The decision to postpone the huge gathering – expect to attract around 25 million visitors through its gates – was taken as part of government measures to reduce the spread of the pandemic.
Italy was particularly hard hit by the virus, recording more than 237,000 cases and 34,000 deaths, according to figures from John Hopkins University.
Mr Glisenti said Italian officials viewed the Expo as critical to the country’s efforts to relaunch its economy.
He said businesses from the space sector, life sciences, energy, agriculture, fashion and culture would all be represented.
“Our participation in the Expo could be an extraordinary stimulus in the extraordinary plan for brand Italy,” Mr Glisenti said.
“Expo Dubai has now become, in the wake of the health emergency, the first opportunity for relaunching Italy’s productive system in the form of exports, tourism, science, art and culture, thanks to the biggest event ever organised on the international stage, with over 190 participants.”
Located near the pavilions of the UAE, Germany, India and Saudi Arabia, the theme of the Italian exhibit will be ‘Beauty that connects people’.
Once inside, visitors will be able to view octagonal-shaped windows, beyond which will stretch panoramic scenes of Italian landscapes.
Tours are planned of varies galleries lined with Byzantine-style mosaics and a life-size version of Michelangelo’s David will be on display.
The issue of sustainability will also be foremost in the minds of designers, with used coffee grounds and algae repurposed to build the exhibit’s walls.
A curtain of LED lights interspersed with a large collection of plants will also help keep the interior of the structure cool.
Italo Rota, founder of architectural firm Italo Rota and Partners, promised his creation would be “capable of moving all our senses”.
“The Italy pavilion continues to progress, continues its voyage, continues its navigation,” he said.
Stefania Giannini, assistant director general for education at Unesco and a former Italian education minister, said she hoped the pavilion would demonstrate a keenness to learn the lessons of Covid-19 and pave the way for a safer world.
“I hope that in Dubai the Italian pavilion will take the lessons from this experience and imagine a better society,” she said.
Updated: June 17, 2020 03:37 PM