Robert’s passion for showcasing the best innovations and natural beauty Slovakia has to offer comes to life through the carefully crafted and designed infrastructure of Dubai Expo’s Slovakia Pavilion.
The World Expo in Dubai is an experience that Robert Mojsej, director of the event’s Slovakia Pavilion, reflects on fondly. Touted as ‘the world’s greatest show’, the mega Expo event sees 192 countries frequenting the space, with Robert’s creation – the three-storey Slovakia pavilion – sitting at the heart of the mobility district.
But while Robert’s role with Expo 2020 Dubai is to deliver the fundamental construction and operational elements of the Slovakia Pavilion, it’s his passion for his home country that makes the pavilion come alive -celebrating the beauty, environment and forward-thinking ideology that makes the country what it is.
Working closely with ISG to ensure that the purpose of the pavilion is fully articulated in the bespoke design and build, the custom-built exhibition space creates a dynamic, visually neutral environment, which highlights Slovakia’s outstanding innovation in transportation and hydrogen technologies.
Helping to leave a lasting legacy on the project, Robert’s work with ISG has ensured that the space can be repurposed with ease, setting it up for the future development of District 2020 – Dubai’s smart and sustainable city that will stand on the same event site after Expo 2020 Dubai ended its six-month run in March 2022
Working hand in hand with ISG, Robert created an exhibit that illuminates Slovakia’s technological capabilities and vision for a net zero future – in a space as beautiful as the land he calls home.
“It is almost breathtaking looking back at the journey to the opening of the Slovakia Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai,” says Robert Mojsej, director of Slovakia Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. “It was the summer of 2021 and the Expo 2020 Dubai office had just connected us to ISG, who would be delivering the fit out for a significant number of country pavilions across the Expo site, including Slovakia.”
In his role as director, Mojsej had a range of responsibilities tied to the construction and continuing operations of the Slovakia Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. As well as overseeing the coordination of the pavilion’s construction, he also curated the content, liaised with Slovakian companies exhibiting at the pavilion, and acted as the coordination between the various governmental departments. And on top of that, it was down to him to work closely with the ISG project team on site to align the vision for the pavilion, articulating the purpose of the space and how each designated area was to be used.
As the main contractor for the Slovakia Pavilion which was designed by Ivan Kulifaj of Absurd Studio, ISG was responsible for delivering a bespoke design and build solution that fitted Slovakia’s all-encompassing business goals at Expo 2020 Dubai.
The exhibition inside the Slovakia Pavilion uses touch-sensitive technology to change the atmosphere of the space in an instant, offering unlimited visual possibilities in its representation of the nation’s revolutionary hydrogen technologies. The touchless exhibition, which brings holographic effects in a veil of mist and virtually-generated spaces, creates an experience of time and space travel. Organic shapes in expansive rooms with semi-transparent elements create a 360˚ visual display that entices visitors to delve deeper.
While constructing the Slovakia Pavilion, ISG project manager, James Irvine, partnered with Mojsej and his team every step of the way to overcome design buildability, procurement, and programme resequencing challenges. A key component of the project was in designing and delivering a custom-built exhibition space that showcases Slovakia’s impressive advancements in hydrogen technologies – the country’s answer to charting a net-zero future.
As one of the three most industrialised countries in the European Union, Slovakia aims to reduce its dependence on fossil fuels by leveraging hydrogen’s many qualities that make it a viable green fuel for the future.
Taking centre stage was is the MH2, the first Slovak hydrogen car. Powered solely by hydrogen fuel cells, the car produces zero CO2 emissions.
“The design and build solution tailored just for the Slovakia Pavilion required intricate planning and construction engineering,” James explains “For instance, the five hydro tanks had to simulate power fluctuations resulting from visitors’ interaction with the touch wall projection, helicopter, plane simulator, and moon buggy usage. Further interactions triggered an increase in bubbles produced by the tanks, along with colour changes to lighting in the space - completing the interactive 360˚ visitor experience.”
Slovakia is one of Europe's most forested countries, and the Pavilion was designed to embody its breathtaking scenery and natural beauty. “ISG helped make all these immersive experiences come to life through its customisable design and build services,” shares Mojsej. “The successful staging of our exhibits just would not have been possible without their work.”
“We had several high-profile visitors, including His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai,” continues Mojsej. “We were so honoured when the President of Slovakia, Zuzana Čaputová, visited the pavilion on the National Day of Slovakia.”
Expo 2020 Dubai attracted more than 22 million visitors from around the world and the event was focused on themes of sustainability, mobility, and opportunity.
“The last Expo in Milan was held in 2015 and attracted mainly European visitors,” explains Mojsej. “But at Expo 2020 Dubai, we saw people from all over the world and for most of these visitors, it was the first time they had discovered Slovakia – our beautiful country in the middle of Europe that is making huge headway in transportation technologies and other innovations.”
While Expo 2020 Dubai ended on 31 March 2022, the development of District 2020 is already underway. District 2020 will re-purpose 80% of the event’s built environment in a bid to experiment and support future ways of working and living in the region. Having delivered almost 90 different structures at Expo 2020, ISG’s construction legacy lives on – ready to take on a new identity and purpose that embraces Dubai’s vision for a sustainable future.