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Shanghai World Expo: SAUDI ARABIA PAVILION

Covering a total area of 6,000 square meters, no one can miss the Saudi Arabia pavilion at Shanghai World Expo: it’s a huge structure with a singular design, unique location, and a boat-like, design pointing in the direction of Makkah […]

Covering a total area of 6,000 square meters, the Saudi Arabia pavilion at Shanghai World Expo is hard to miss: it’s a huge structure with a singular design, unique location, and a boat-like, design pointing in the direction of Makkah.

The Saudi Arabia Pavilion, the most expensive pavilion at Shanghai World Expo, is also one of the most popular, if not the most buzzed about pavilion of the event. Ever heard of the infamous 9-hour wait just to enter the pavilion?

Saudi Arabia Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo: Entrance
Saudi Arabia Pavilion entrance at Shanghai World Expo, by Itamar Medeiros
Saudi Arabia Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo
Saudi Arabia Pavilion VIP entrance at Shanghai World Expo, by Itamar Medeiros

The main exhibition of the pavilion will be comprised three parts: the first part, called “a handful of sand” will serve as an introduction to Saudi Arabian history, geography, social life and cities.

Exhibits: The Giant Emerged Screen

The second part is the IMAX theatre with a 1,600 sqm screen — probably  the largest on earth; the third part is the transitional area in between the first and the second part to prepare visitors for shows to come. A moving belt connects the three parts together, allowing visitors to comfortably wander throughout the exhibition.

In the first part of the movie, titled “City and Society”, the visitors watch realistic pictures and images that present glimpses of the Saudi people and its civil and industrial renaissance as well as the features of its land, cities, and holy sites.

Then the second part of the film titled: “The Treasure Hall” begins, and it features a surround movie that carries the visitors to space between Earth and the Moon, and then descends gradually until it reaches the desert of the “empty quarter” before moving to another aerial view of the Holy Mosque in Makkah to show another impressive bird’s-eye view of the pilgrims around the Kaaba.

Exhibits: Arabian Oasis on the Moon Boat’s Rooftop

Tents were put up under the date trees for visitors to experience the feeling of ‘living in a tent’.

Saudi Arabia Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo: Living in Tents
Saudi Arabia Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo: Living in Tents

The top deck is also a good spot for a nice riverside view.

Shanghai Skyline viewed from the top of the Saudi Arabia Pavilion at Shanghai World Expo

By Itamar Medeiros

I'm a Strategist, Branding Specialist, Experience Designer, Speaker, and Workshop Facilitator based in Germany, where I work as Director of Design Strategy and Systems at SAP and visiting lecturer at Köln International School of Design of the Cologne University of Applied Sciences.

Working in the Information Technology industry since 1998, I've helped truly global companies in several countries (Brazil, China, Germany, The Netherlands, Poland, The United Arab Emirates, United States, Hong Kong) create great user experience through advocating Design and Innovation principles.

During my 7 years in China, I've promoted the User Experience Design discipline as User Experience Manager at Autodesk and Local Coordinator of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA) in Shanghai.

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