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Projection test for the Names memorial, the room is still empty now. Our Colonial Inheritance

24.05.2022 at 15:17 by Wendy Snoek

Growing steel structures. Growth, what is that?

05.04.2022 at 14:00 by Lucandrea Baraldi


The ideal spot for the Herron. The Voice of Urban Nature

21.03.2022 at 10:33 by Herman Kossmann


Artist Celia Smith installing here birds warm sculpture. Groote Museum

23.02.2022 at 17:02 by Michel de Vaan

Slowly towards the opening on the 8th of February! Our Land

01.02.2022 at 17:34 by Remco Swart

Together with photographer Sander van den Bosch, we are measuring and photographing all floors of the palace. Visitors will soon be walking on 'invisible' carpets, in order to experience the original atmosphere of the rooms as fully as possible. Paleis Het Loo

26.01.2022 at 12:54 by Robin Schijfs


Carefully lifting a python snake skeleton. Groote Museum

24.01.2022 at 14:13 by Michel de Vaan

After all those days at home behind a screen, it is very nice to finally do some hands-on experimenting with projections and different layers of transparent fabrics... Nature

07.12.2021 at 17:33 by Pauline Fer

Work in progress for Museum Sophiahof. In progress…

02.12.2021 at 17:28 by Remco Swart


Work in progress for a children's tour Work in Progress

25.11.2021 at 09:35 by Annika Jacobs


Barefoot in an exhibition? Together with the Stapferhaus, we are looking at what this means for the perception of the visitors... Nature

24.11.2021 at 18:23 by Robin Schijfs

With a few kickoff days (and nights) in the mountains of Switzerland, we have firmly started the draft design for the new Nature exhibition at the Stapferhaus! Nature

30.09.2021 at 11:09 by Robin Schijfs


Cleaning out tree routs before they will be lifted to the ceiling Groote Museum

25.09.2021 at 12:29 by Michel de Vaan

Milling earth elevation minus water from a special foam. Here we show how little drinking water there actually is on earth. Groote Museum

30.06.2021 at 12:04 by Michel de Vaan


Super exiting moment discovering the panels of the « 4 visions on the Anthropocene » box we made for the Vienna Biennal 2021! Work in Progress

12.05.2021 at 12:00 by Lea Chenot


A big empty space, right before installing all exhibits at WeTheCurious! Project What If

01.02.2021 at 12:19 by Ina Meininghaus


Safety vs. functionality: looking for the best headphones to use in a factory Expedition HVC

07.01.2021 at 17:39 by Roel Bolhuis


The new temporary exhibition in House of European History is 'under construction' Fake (f)or Real

07.01.2021 at 17:32 by Tsur Reshef


Netherlands Pavilion

Expo 2020 Dubai (UAE)

How can we make it rain in the desert? How can we use natural resources already present to provide food? These are just two questions that this pavilion answers. Kossmanndejong developed a multisensory experience in which visitors can discover the Netherlands’ innovation and ambition. Every day, the pavilion harvests 800 liters of water from the desert air to manufacture rain. It’s raining stories, innovations and possibilities in the pavilion.

Expo 2020 Dubai (UAE)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
3,727 m2
Visitor experience design
Mark de Jong (lead), Femke Bijlsma, Sietske Sips, Martijn Sas, Michel de Vaan
V8 Architects
Main contractor
Light design
AV hardware
BIND film
An innovative climate machine

The pavilion is a biotope – a miniature world with its own cycle. This temporary, circular climate system exists through a combination of unique innovations. The pavilion showcases experimental solutions to major issues of water scarcity, energy transition and food shortages on a life-sized scale model. Only united water, energy and food solutions can help the world achieve the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals. In this way, the pavilion acts as a catalyst to inspire the world to change.

Theatrical factory

The visitor experience reinforces the factory metaphor of the pavilion’s architecture. Everything breathes the atmosphere of a fresh, future industry. There is a control room with monitors and there are orange carts and wheelbarrows that act as mobile umbrella stands. On the ramps, you hear sounds of steel and Dutch innovations, such as the ‘swoosh’ of windmill blades. Inside, puffs of mist from the evaporative cooling evoke a steam engine. The hosts wear blue overalls because they are the workers who help keep this factory running.

A sensory experience

Visitors’ five senses will be spoiled for choice – though not all at once. We strategically emphasize certain senses in concert with the pavilion’s architecture. Sounds pique visitors’ curiosity. The temperature gradually shifts from hot to cool. Visitors can smell oyster mushrooms and taste the plants that grow on the central cone. The rusted steel begs to be touched. Scents recreate the smells of Dutch soil. When they exit the cone, visitors see the biotope covered in plants for the first time. This sensory experience unlocks the visitors’ imaginations, encouraging them to speculate what a circular system can be and achieve.

It’s raining stories

After an introduction to the pavilion’s central theme of ‘uniting water, energy and food’ in the control room, the visitor journey in the central cone builds to a climax in the form of a multimedia experience that Kossmanndejong developed with BIND film. A wondrous narrative projects onto white umbrellas about the pavilion’s technical innovations that transform the harsh desert climate into a fertile ecosystem. The journey’s pinnacle is a miraculous rainfall that suddenly pours from 18 meters high. Carefully orchestrated theatrical lighting and penetrating music combine to enhance the pavilion’s storytelling and its emotional resonance.

Dust to dust

As if it were a mirage, the pavilion will disappear from the desert when the Expo concludes. Located in the Expo’s Sustainability District, the Netherlands Pavilion’s designers wanted to create a temporary structure that left little to no trace once dismantled. The pavilion’s construction materials are either reusable, recyclable or biodegradable. Builders leased local steel and will return it for use in future projects in the UAE. The factory workers wear clothes made of recycled denim and will reuse the material for future clothing. We believe it is our role as communicators and designers to help people imagine a better future. We are therefore honoured to communicate the story of the Netherlands Pavilion to its visitors.


Columbia University's Digital Dozen: Breakthroughs in Storytelling Awards 2022


Big 5 Impact Awards 2021

Sustainable Construction Project of the year, winner

Exhibitor Magazine Award 2022

Best Interpretation of Theme – Winner

Exhibitor Magazine Award 2022

Best Sustainable Design – Honorable Mention

Exhibitor Magazine Award 2022

Best Medium Pavilion – Honorable Mention