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At EXPO 2020 Dubai, Slovenia to have attractive pavilion featuring “SLOVENIA - Smart Green Experience”

It has already been well publicised that Slovenia will exhibit at Expo 2020 Dubai, the central theme of which is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future. Slovenia will be taking part in the sustainability sub-theme, which emphasises the need to live in harmony and balance with the world, and will present its vision of so doing in its own pavilion covering 1,550 m2. As part of a public invitation, the highest-quality representation of Slovenia was judged to be the concept entitled “SLOVENIA - Smart Green Experience”. The concept selected for the pavilion presents Slovenia as a sustainable, forward-thinking and creative country that combines a green environment, knowledge, powerful ideas and innovations, as well as a value-added economy. Slovenia will use the pavilion and its enhanced promotion to present itself as a destination for investment, tourism, knowledge transfer and economic cooperation. 

State Secretary at the Ministry of Economic Development and Technology Eva Štravs Podlogar noted on the presentation of the concept that the global Expo 2020 Dubai offers Slovenia a major opportunity for international promotion and consolidation of Slovenia’s standing in the world: “It offers the chance to strengthen bilateral and multilateral political, economic and cultural relations between Slovenia and other countries, and in particular it is an outstanding opportunity for a comprehensive showcasing of Slovenia’s export economy, tourism, culture and sport.”

Given its experience in previous participation at world exhibitions, Slovenia will have its own pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, in a small area for independent pavilions of which it will take up 1,550 m2. Of the three sub-themes at the global exhibition, mobility, sustainability and opportunity, Slovenia opted to participate in sustainability.

The pavilion emphasises Slovenia’s place as the green heart of central Europe, a place where land and sea trade routes meet, and a geostrategically important country. The three elements that best identify Slovenia are highlighted in the pavilion: i) water, the symbol of life, vitality, and the flow of material and ideas; ii) the floating forest, nature, which is the heart of Slovenia and the soul of Europe; and iii) the sieve, a large wooden parasol, which is a technology with a strong Slovenian identity. 

The pavilion is designed in such a way that it uses elements that are prefabricated, sustainable and biodegradable: metal, glass, stone and of course for the most part wood, in which Slovenia is very rich.

The pavilion will enable visitors to enjoy a total experience of Slovenia through all the senses. The exterior of the main show space serves as an area for visual presentations in various sectors: culture, tourism, gastronomy and specific sectors of the economy. The interior of the main space is designed interactively and enables exhibitions and video content of individual activations in a ‘showroom’, backed up by sound effects and pleasant aromas that contribute to the desired mood. Moreover the pavilion is designed as a smart environment offering visitors a virtual visit and experiencing of the future via digital technology.

The selected concept was produced by the company Magnet Design of Ljubljana. The selected concept won over the committee both in terms of its originality and the creativity of its content, and in terms of the harmonisation of its core concept with the thematic guidelines of the organiser and with the vision of promoting Slovenia at a global exhibition. In terms of content the selected design at the same time showcases the highlighted and recognisable outer image and is in line with the overarching Slovenian trademark I feel Slovenia.

The Ministry selected the concept on the basis of a public call in accordance with the Public Procurement Act. A total of seven applicants responded to the call and submitted tenders, with five applicants fulfilling the conditions of the call. The members of the committee assessed the tenders under conditions of anonymity, meaning that up until the end of the substantive assessment they did not know who had submitted a specific tender. The selected concept was assessed with 75.35 points out of a total of 100 possible, and the next best tender was assessed with 65.56 points. 

The Ministry of Economic Development and Technology acts as the national coordinator for cooperation with the Bureau International des Expositions, and this project will also enjoy the active cooperation principally of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the SPIRIT Agency for the Promotion of Entrepreneurship, Internationalisation, Foreign Investments and Technology, the Slovenian Tourist Board, the Government Communication Office and the ministries of culture, education, science and sport, and agriculture, forestry and food. 


The selection of the pavilion concept design for presenting Slovenia marked the conclusion of the first stage of project preparation.  In the next stages the Ministry will focus on preparations for the 6-month presentation programme and on setting up the pavilion in Dubai, with the structure needing to be standing in place by 20 October, according to the organiser’s instructions. In preparing the specifics of what will actually take place in the pavilion, in addition to state institutions it will invite the cooperation of representatives of the business sector, tourism and other stakeholders who express an interest in collaborating on the presentation of Slovenia at Expo 2020. 


The overall costs of presenting Slovenia in Dubai are estimated to be around EUR 9.7 million. This includes the set up, equipment, operation and dismantling of the pavilion, as well as the costs of providing the programme and organising all the events and presentations, along with all the staff and materials for these needs. 


The world expos take place every five years. The expo in Dubai will begin on 20 October 2020 and will run for six months, to 10 April 2021. A total of 190 countries are expected to be represented at the exhibition, covering 95% of the entire world population. The organisers are expecting 25 million visitors, of whom more than 70% will be international visitors. 


Slovenia has positive experiences from the world expo in Milan in 2015, when its pavilion was visited by more than 1 million people over six months. The Expano exhibition pavilion from Milan was handed over to the City Municipality of Murska Sobota for management and it is now set up by the Sobota lake. The Expano pavilion represents an entry point both for tourists to explore the Pomurje region and for setting up business ties with the regional economy. 


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TIMETABLE of preparations for the project to present Slovenia at EXPO 2020:
1)    Completion of concept design for the Slovenian pavilion:
        • Ongoing: confirmation of final design from local authorities and organisers in Dubai
2)    Preparation of project documentation (implementation design) and selection of contractor to set up pavilion
3)    Setting up pavilion: execution of primary construction works: by 20 October 2019
4)    Equipping pavilion: by 20 July 2020 and installation of exhibition spaces: by 20 September 2020
5)    Preparation and implementation of six-month programme Presentation of Slovenia: parallel with preparations for setting up and equipping pavilion
6)    Start of 6-month exhibition: 20 October 2020 to 10 April 2021
7)    Take-down of pavilion and restoring space of Slovenian pavilion to its original state: by 10 October 2021


OFFICIAL WEBSITE of the EXPO 2020 exhibition


The following EVALUATORS participated in the assessment committee: 
•    Dr Robert Drobnič, chairman of the committee as representative of the contracting authority (economic development ministry) and the commissioner general for EXPO 2020 Dubai appointed by the Slovenian Government
•    Andrej Hrausky, representative of the architecture profession
•    Jurij Dobrila, representative of the design profession and president of the Slovenian Association of Designers (DOS)
•    Kristina Plavšak Krajnc, representative of the communication profession and director of the Government Communication Office
•    Jerneja Lampret, commissioner general of Slovenia for the world expo in Milan in 2015
•    Matej Skočir, head of the Internationalisation Section at the Directorate for Internationalisation, Entrepreneurship and Technology at the economic ministry
•    Gazmend Ćatipi, Internationalisation Section at the Directorate for Internationalisation, Entrepreneurship and Technology at the economic ministry


More information on the public call to submit tenders for selection (in slovene language)