Malaysia set to unveil a tropical rainforest in the heart of Expo 2020 Dubai


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Dubai: Highlighting its commitment to sustainability, Malaysia has unveiled details of its unique ‘Rainforest Canopy’ pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai on Wednesday.

Spanning an area of 1,234sqm, the Malaysia pavilion is the first Net Zero Carbon initiative at Expo 2020 Dubai. It is an architectural marvel blending esoteric design with animation elements to provide a sublime experience of man-nature relationship to visitors, said Malaysian Ambassador Mohd Tarid Sufian.

Expo 2020 Dubai will run from October 1, 2021 to March 31, 2022. It is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, and the first to be hosted by an Arab nation.

The pavilion will have a waterfall effect against the backdrop of a desert landscape. The stream originates from the top of the pavilion and snakes its way down the ramp, which has a suspension bridge feel while walking on it. Light poles were designed to sway with the wind and the pavilion itself is made with lightweight structure and can be dismantled for reuse.

The exhibition halls are suspended on very long slender legs, hovering 4-6 metres above the ground. The three exhibition halls will have a feel of “touching the ground lightly, intended to evoke references to a tropical jungle”.

“We wanted to remind the need to have a sustainable outlook on life and business in these challenging times through our ‘Rainforest Canopy’ concept at Expo 2020 Dubai — a nodal global event contributing to the efforts of a post-Covid economic recovery,” Sufian noted.

Overcoming the pandemic

For Malaysia, Expo 2020 Dubai is a strategic platform to accelerate economic growth and tide over the impact of the pandemic. The Malaysian pavilion will have participation from 22 Malaysian ministries, 40 agencies and five state governments. The entities will conduct a total of 26 weekly trade and business programmes throughout the show for six months. It is also estimated that at least 200 Malaysian business delegations will visit the Expo.

“In line with the theme of Expo 2020 Dubai — ‘Connecting Minds, Creating Future’ — the Pavilion will bring together a diverse group of businesses from over ten different industry verticals spread across six clusters,” noted Sufian.

Top view of an artist’s impression of the Malaysia pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Image Credit: Supplied

Man and nature

Malaysia’s Rainforest Canopy pavilion is located between the Sustainability and Mobility districts. According to Sufian, the theme of the Malaysian pavilion is ‘Energising Sustainability’, which captures the country’s commitment to balance socio-economic progress with environmental protection and fostering symbiotic relationship between man and nature.

Meranti wood — from the tree native to Southeast Asia — has been extensively used for the pavilion’s facade to make a statement of Malaysia’s sustainable forestry practises and timber products.

“Visitors will find the ‘Rainforest Canopy’ concept in the middle of the desert enchanting, complete with tree clusters to walk through, flanked by robust flora and fauna and a river meandering in between. The aim is to rekindle the experience of the benign nature and reflect on how it has protected mankind all along,” noted Shamsul Bahar Mohd Nor, CEO of the Malaysian Green Technology and Climate Change Centre (MGTC), the implementing agency for Malaysia’s participation in Expo 2020.

He added the pavilion is designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions through 20 per cent energy savings achieved with eco-friendly architecture and construction. “Building the pavilion was a challenging project, but exciting too as it blended superior skills with imagination to provide visitors an immersive experience of being in a rainforest,” he added.

Strong bilateral relations

Meanwhile, Sufian noted Malaysia’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai will enhance bilateral trade and investment. The UAE is the largest trading partner and export destination in GCC for Malaysia. The total bilateral trade in 2020 was at $4.9 billion (Dh18 million), comprising $2.03 billion in exports and $2.89 billion in imports. The UAE is also the second-largest import source for Malaysia after Saudi Arabia. Sufian added Expo 2020 Dubai will also help Malaysia revive its tourism sector.


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