Tales about how earlier generations of Emiratis used plants and trees for medicine, food and building material are interlinked with the landscaping of the UAE pavilion at the Milan Expo.
A green oasis greets visitors at the end of the trail after they have viewed a film about the Emirates and its people and participated in interactive digital displays.
A combination of date palms, olive and citrus trees are part of the landscaping around the pavilion and the open areas replicate the local terrain of the Emirates.
"We have tried, where possible, to use species that are native to the UAE or relatives of desert flora suited to the Milan climate,” said Gerard Evenden, senior executive partner at architecture firm Foster + Partners.
"We have echoed the dune landscape in earth formations at the pavilion's edges and inside the building there is a rich oasis of date palms, olives and citrus trees – a microcosm of what can be found on a much larger scale in places such as Al Ain.”
The architects worked closely with the UAE's National Media Council to create the pavilion and connect it to the Milan theme of Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.
"This project is the best that I have been fortunate to be involved in,” said Salem Al Ameri, UAE Expo 2015 commissioner general.
The garden landscape, created from relatives of indigenous Emirati species, and the hidden oasis at the trail's end are among the areas of the pavilion that visitors said they enjoyed most, he said.
"What is so extraordinary is how the unique and dramatic rippled walls envelope the overall structure and cradle the exhibitions within. Light plays a big role in any building of this kind and there are delightful plays of sun and shade – contrasting and complimenting each other.”
Source: The National