Thinkwell Design x Mohawk Group at the USA Pavilion Expo 2020 Dubai
Mohawk Group is pleased to have been included in the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, designed by Thinkwell Group in Los Angeles. Originally scheduled to open in October 2020, the pandemic postponed the World’s Fair and pushed the opening to September 2021. With the closing of the fair ending now at the end of March, we thought would we share this incredible project that was years in the making.
The USA pavilion, under the charge of The US Department of State (they were the client), was designed by Thinkwell’s team of experience designers, including Chuck Roberts, Senior Art Director and Exhibition Designer, and Suzanne Wright, Senior Interior Designer with the firm who championed Mohawk Group for this project. The team designed the pavilion with the goal to take visitors through the story of American innovation. They designed the public exhibit areas as well as the VIP spaces with the theme of “Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of the Future.”
The 43,000-sf project incorporated seven exhibits highlighting American innovation featuring artifacts such as an early telephone by Alexander Graham Bell and the first iPhone by Apple. It also included a scaled replica of the Statue of Liberty’s torch, and a model of the Mars Opportunity Rover. A full-scale replica of a SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket was also located just outside the pavilion, and entertained visitors with a projected lightshow each night.
In addition to showcasing the story of American innovations, the USA Pavilion featured several innovations itself. A first-of-its-kind moving sidewalk transports visitors on a winding journey through the first four exhibits. A multimedia presentation titled “The Sky Is No Longer the Limit” is the first production of its kind to use Black 3.0, the world’s most light-absorbent black acrylic paint. This presentation explored future-looking subjects such as quantum computing and the democratization of space while providing an experience in light and three-dimensional sound.
Additional presentations in the pavilion included a 59-foot-long curving mapped projection mural that highlighted American inventions that have given the world many modern freedoms including communications, electrification, and transportation. Another presentation featured media cubes with diverse voices and faces from today’s innovative emerging American companies who are working to broaden their outreach to communities in need around the world.
For the interior design elements, Wright used materials and furnishings that were made in America by American manufacturers, such as Mohawk Group for the flooring, and Bernhardt for the furniture. A diverse group of American artists were also represented through art installations in the public and VIP spaces. Many of the patterns were a nod to iconic American motifs, and the firm adhered to using a palette of red, white, and blue mixed with gorgeous wood veneers, metals, and glass.
Wright chose to tell a piece of the USA story by selecting three patterns from Mohawk’s Owls collection in the VIP, Prefunction, conference areas, and exhibit spaces of the pavilion: all three styles of Feather in Snowy, Great Grey, and Western Screech. According to Wright, “Mohawk immediately came to mind” due to the company’s innovative manufacturing and sustainability platform, being a strong Made in America company, as well as linking the Owl as an American species (much like the Bald Eagle), where we associate freedom with flight. Wright also specified Mohawk Group’s Grown Up and Bolder LVT hard surface floors, along with Elemental Edges cove base throughout the entire pavilion.
Thinkwell was bestowed a 2021 Muse Gold Award for both the interiors and overall pavilion design. It was a true team effort to work on this global collaboration, including Mohawk Group teams in Los Angeles and the UAE, Thinkwell’s international teams, and of course the Department of State and all contractors and consultants. This teamwork was a success, as there have been over one million visitors from 155 countries to the USA pavilion since it opened, and the space entertained delegates from 71 countries. The pavilion also welcomed school-aged children, as well as performers and speakers, including The President of the United States.
Overall, 190 countries participated in showcasing their attractions, achievements, and aspirations at the fair. This is the first time the fair is held in the UAE and Middle East region, highlighting Dubai as a place for the world to meet and share cultural exchanges and business.
This is not Mohawk’s first appearance at a World’s Fair. In 1933 in Chicago, Karastan (a Mohawk company) displayed the world’s largest tufted rug made in wool, to mimic the look of traditional, international hand-tufted rugs. More than five million people walked on the rug, and then they cleaned half to show the durability of Karastan.
Mohawk Group wishes to thank and congratulate Thinkwell for the incredible design work of this amazing accomplishment.
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