But what does this have to do with Happiness?
Metaphorically bringing snow to the desert, this week sees the opening at Expo 2020 Dubai (rescheduled from last year) of JKMM Architects’ Finland Pavilion, which is inspired by Finnish nature, design and innovation. The building – known as ‘Snow Cape’ – has as its theme ‘Sharing Future Happiness’ and will highlight Finland’s commitment to sustainability and its deep connection with nature, as well as ensuring a memorable visitor experience. Teemu Kurkela, Founder and Creative Partner at JKMM Architects, explains:
“In designing the pavilion, we sought to bring a fragment of Finnish nature to UAE and Dubai. The pavilion was inspired by the thin white layer of first snow that covers the Finnish landscape at the beginning of winter. In Finnish, it is called 'Lumi', which means snow. The main entrance was inspired by a traditional Arabic tent. Two cultures meet in the architectural concept of the pavilion. Hopefully, this will be the best space in Expo for meeting face-to-face.”
A visit to the pavilion will activate all human senses, both through the spatial design and the materials. The soft and light façade fabric will be in strong contrast to the hard granite floor tiles. Water in dark ‘lakes’ (shallow water pools) will create gentle sounds and cool the air around them. Overall, the experience will evoke Finland’s clean water and fresh air.
Finland was the first country to create a roadmap to a circular economy and JKMM have stayed true to these principles in the design and construction of Snow Cape. Sustainability was a guiding theme throughout the design and construction process. With the exception of a limited number of Finnish materials being imported, Snow Cape was built almost entirely using locally sourced material, thereby reducing the environmental burden caused by unnecessary logistics and transportation. Nor was dismantling an afterthought; it actively informed the pavilion’s design, including plans for the structure’s life after Expo.
FUSION OF IDEAS
The building interweaves several ideas. The pavilion is a fragment of Finnish Nature, symbolically bringing into the desert the snow, granite, forests, and water that characterise the country. Culture is celebrated by Snow Cape’s tentlike form, which makes reference to Finland’s own nomadic heritage. The structure’s exterior and interior are a nod to Finland’s long tradition of minimalist and modernist Design, which is informed by the building’s Function. Snow Cape is a place of Meeting at Expo, a calming and cool respite from the surrounding bustle. The pavilion is a metaphorical messenger from Finland, the ‘lab of Sustainability’.