British designer Paul Cocksedge's ‘impossible’ living watercolor design was selected as a finalist for the UK National Pavilion during Expo 2020 in Dubai. Every color in the pavilion comes from the flag of a nation exhibiting at the event, expressing unity, partnership and possibility. The overlapping shades reflect the theme of the Expo – Connecting Minds, Creating The Future. At the heart of the building, a sculptural centerpiece envelops visitors in color and light, giving the sense of an ‘impossible’ structure.
Paul Cocksedge Studio was shortlisted as part of a competition organized by the UK government. The structure, designed in partnership with IDOM and Arup, would be made from thousands of translucent glass discs, overlaid on top of one another to create a three-dimensional chromatic experience that changes according to shifting sun and shade. “We were drawn to the idea of looking outwards for inspiration”, says Paul Cocksedge. “This informed the entire architecture of the pavilion, which we designed as a sculptural watercolour that plays with the natural environment to connect with people.”
“The quality of design proposals we received for the UK Pavilion were testament to the UK’s world leading creative talent,” said Trade Secretary Dr Liam Fox MP. “This announcement follows a competitive tender process which saw a number of leading designers and firms form consortia to bid for the multi-million-pound contract, and we are grateful for their submissions.”
Award-winning artist and designer Es Devlin OBE was eventually selected for the winning design of the UK Pavilion.