Finland tops out ‘Snow Cape’ pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020

Commissioner General of Finland at Expo 2020 Dubai, Severi Keinälä, Finland’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Mika Lintilä and Finland’s Ambassador to the UAE, Marianne Nissilä signed on the last piece of the construction. (Supplied)
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Updated 12 February 2020

Finland tops out ‘Snow Cape’ pavilion at Dubai Expo 2020

  • Around 80-85% of the around 80-85 percent of the pavilion’s materials will be reused and recycled after the exhibition is over
  • Finland ranked as the world’s happiest country in the 2019 World Happiness Report

DUBAI: Finland revealed its Dubai Expo 2020 pavilion, named Snow Cape, during a recent ceremony at the site.

Finland’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Mika Lintilä, Commissioner General of Finland at Expo 2020 Dubai, Severi Keinälä, and Finland’s Ambassador to the UAE, Marianne Nissilä signed on the last piece of the construction.

The structure is located in the Mobility District, and around 80-85 percent of its materials will be reused and recycled after the exhibition is over.

“We want visitors to Snow Cape to immerse themselves in our deep connection to nature and sustainability. The values of happiness, circular economy and innovations are being showcased throughout the pavilion and exhibition design,” Keinälä said.

Finland ranked as the world’s happiest country in the 2019 World Happiness Report, produced by the United Nations Sustainable Development Solutions Network in partnership with the Ernesto Illy Foundation.

“Finnish happiness is based on the symbiosis of people, nature and technology. This deep connection is the origin of the quality of everyday Finnish life and the Finland pavilion communicates this happiness,” Keinälä said.

Snow Cape’s design was created by Finland-based JKMM Architects and aims to combine the local culture of the UAE and Finnish tradition.

“The pavilion was inspired by the white blanket of snow that covers the Finnish landscape every winter. The main entrance was designed to elicit thoughts of a traditional Arabic tent, seamlessly integrating features from both cultures,” Partner and Architect at JKMM Architects Teemu Kurkela said.

Kurkela explained that they had many options to pick from, such as forests to represent the Finnish nature, but decided to go with the snow cape.

“Since the climate here is very hot, lots of sun and sand and dessert. What is the extreme contrast to that? In that sense, it’s the winter and the snow,” the architect said.

JKMM also designed the Finnish pavilion, Kirnu, in Shanghai World Expo 2010, which won the first prize in the design competition.

As for how Finland’s participation will reflect on the relations with UAE and the region, the ambassador believes it will make the connections tighter.

“I think the fact that 100 Finnish companies decided to take part in Expo is the clearest sign ever about their interest to reach out to Dubai, to the UAE and to the wider region here,” Nissilä said.

The ambassador also hopes these companies use the exhibition as a platform to reinforce relations with partners and find new ones.

“I’m hoping that expo will bring the economic and trade cooperation to a totally new level, with new partnerships found and new deals made” Nissilä said.


Furniture giant IKEA making masks to help fight coronavirus

Updated 31 March 2020

Furniture giant IKEA making masks to help fight coronavirus

  • The first batches for European health care facilities are in transit
  • Several other companies are also working to help address an acute shortage of medical supplies

STOCKHOLM, March 31 : Furniture giant IKEA is producing face masks and other protective gear for hospitals, joining a growing list of companies branching out of their normal business areas to help meet equipment shortages in the fight against coronavirus.
Having started off with masks for staff in China in early stages of the pandemic, the Swedish group is working with several suppliers to ramp up output of masks for health workers, as well as hand sanitisers, visors and single-use aprons.
The first batches for European health care facilities are in transit, Henrik Elm, global supply manager at brand owner Inter IKEA Group, which is in charge of supply, told Reuters.
Several other companies are also working to help address an acute shortage of medical supplies, with vacuum cleaner company Dyson making ventilators, fashion group Armani producing medical overalls and spirits brand Ricard donating alcohol for sanitisers.
Working from home
IKEA has reopened all but one store in China, where the virus emerged, but across markets a majority of the 436 stores are temporarily closed.
Demand for office furniture is holding up as many people are working from home in the health crisis, Elm said.
“The sales pattern is changing. One area where we are selling pretty well compared to others is office furniture. People are working from home and they have identified needs in their homes for it,” he said in an interview.
“So, it (demand) is distributed differently — in some areas we keep it up well, in some we have a major impact.”
Well-prepared’
Elm said supply chain disruptions had increased with the spread of the virus to Europe and America, with closed borders or restricted movement a key bottleneck.
IKEA has managed to cope, however, partly by spreading inventories to warehouses in several locations, he said.
“So far, we have seen a limited effect on the availability of our offer,” he said.
Elm said he expected no shortages of wood or other materials, such as plastics and textiles, as global demand for such materials was in decline.
One area of concern, however, is finding room to store goods already in transit to markets where IKEA has temporarily closed many of its stores.
“There will be constraints in coming weeks in harboring these goods. Warehouses will be a bottleneck,” he said. “Things that were on their way we are either re-steering or storing.”
IKEA produces a tenth of products itself and sources the rest from suppliers, mostly in Asia and Europe.
As IKEA and other retailers adapt to slowing consumer demand, many suppliers and service partners are struggling.
Elm said IKEA was assisting them with loans, swift invoice payments and help accessing government support packages.