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Sharing future happiness – go with the flow and enjoy the ride

May 24, 2021. Written by Reetta Sohlman.

From October 1, 2021 onwards, the Finnish quality and know-how will be accessible at the Expo 2020 in Dubai, UAE. I am sure that the VIP and Conference area at the Finland Pavilion provides the Expo 2020 visitors with the cleanest environment and the safest materials.

It is a great honour to be involved in this event as one of the key players in a great team. It has been wonderful to realize how all the Finnish companies and innovations, both smaller and larger, enthusiastically work together to create imposing experiences and maximize the safety of the visitors. For me, designing the VIP lounge area, the Finland Majlis, has been more than enjoyable in the atmosphere that is full of joy and inspiration.

In the beginning of 2020 we were busy with finishing the plans as the deadline was getting closer. At that time, I was still on maternity leave and playing in the back as my colleague was acting as the main designer for the project. The plans were almost ready, only waiting for the final decisions, as suddenly everything changed. The whole world changed, the way of thinking and acting changed and most of all, the priorities changed. Covid-19 took over and the world was unexpectedly shut down.

The journey continues with new perspectives. Quite a long time passed and one day I found an assignment on my table, VIP Lounge Dubai Expo. The project was about to start all over again. The same theme and the same goal, but with different perspectives. Safety became one of the most important elements and driving factors of the design.

Functionality and wellbeing, the nature, sustainable development, education and know-how are considered as components of the Finnish happiness. Finnish design and innovations bring these components into life to create functional and imposing solutions in this changing world - to create joy and happiness in the Finland Pavilion as well. The design is a comprehensive entity that is created to serve the visitors in the best possible way and, above all, safely.

Adaptability with antimicrobial contact surfaces. Since nobody knows how long the current pandemic will last, functionality and easy adaptation of the furniture is of high importance. With our design, we want to demonstrate how different events can be organized by using furniture in the times of rapidly changing circumstances with new restrictions and regulations. At its best, the furniture is multifunctional, easily movable, fast to remove, hide and get out again in order to create situational spaces and surroundings for the purpose. In the Expo 2020 all ISKU furniture has antimicrobial touch surfaces, no matter if it’s the hard material or the most beautiful upholstery. With antimicrobial materials as default, we aim at reducing spread of harmful microbes, cutting the chains of infections, and thus providing a safe exhibition experience for both our prestigious guests and employees.

Selected furniture reflects the importance of nature. Though safety, functionality and health aspects are taken into account as the most important elements of the design, it does not compromise with aesthetics and state-of-the-art design. The design has the magic touch of the nature, as our Nordic surroundings play an important role when it comes to happiness of us Finns. The design is a representation of pure raw materials from Finnish forests. Wooden surfaces with the shades and colours derived from the nature create a harmonic, peaceful and solid entity.

As with any large projects, there are bumps on the road, but they will be cleared up with the best possible solution. This was also the case in this design project. However, compared to the world-wide problems we are currently living through, challenges in this project can be considered easy and small.

Our Expo 2020 plans are now ready to be implemented and for me it is now time for the second round of maternity leave. Go with the flow and enjoy this great upcoming event! I am sure that better times are approaching.

About the author

Reetta Sohlman pic 2021 735px505px

Reetta Sohlman works at ISKU' International Team as an Interior architect and design support for all market areas. Reetta has created the final interior design for the Finland Pavilion’s VIP lounge area, the Finland Majlis at the upcoming Expo 2020.

Ten years of experience around the company’s high quality and design furniture leaves its marks on her everyday work. Reetta's experience in public space planning combined with her artistic competence personalizes her visual vision.