The Office of Public Works (OPW) contracted EPIC to help project manage and deliver the exhibition element of the Irish Pavilion at EXPO Dubai 2020 for the Department of Foreign Affairs.
The over-arching theme of EXPO Dubai is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’; the theme for Ireland’s exhibition is ‘Ireland – Island of Inspiration’.
EPIC carried out substantial historical research into Ireland’s ancient past and contemporary technology and scientific industries, the latter element requiring a series of site visits and direct contact with people on the front line of scientific research in Ireland. This research led to EPIC identifying the key takeaway message for visitors to the Irish Pavilion, namely that Ireland’s story of technology-driven innovation dates from 5000 years ago and continues today.
The design for the Irish Pavilion by the Office of the State’s Principal Architect was based on the Neolithic Stone Age Passage tombs such as Newgrange and Knowth. It included an oculus with a skylight, which mimics the opening in Newgrange through which the rising sun reaches the tomb’s passageway and chambers at the winter solstice. Dara Lynne worked with the OPW’s design team to develop visitor-flow solutions and exhibition-focused requirements, while also meeting regularly with the Department of Foreign Affairs Project Team.
Having identified the themes and requirements, EPIC produced exhibition tender documents and managed the procurement process. Selection was made after careful consideration with the client, following government procurement guidelines. A creative team were appointed and roll out for production began.
The successful interpretive design for the pavilion was a highly immersive 180 degree film experience played in the occulus space. The occulus interior seating design mirrored the Giant’s Causeway - a geographical feature on Ireland’s northern coastline.
Due to the disruption caused by COVID-19, EXPO 2020 was postponed but was eventually opened in October 2021 and ran until March 2022. Ireland’s presence at EXPO, headed up by the Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA), was a great success, welcoming over 350,000 people through its doors, hosting 72 events and showing casing the best in Irish technology and creativity.
Client: Office of Public Works
Date: June 2018 to December 2020
DMW Creative, vStream Digital Media, Display Contracts International, Office of the State Architects.