For the first time in EXPO exhibition history, countries were given the opportunity of designing their national pavilion through a design competition organized by EXPO Dubai 2020 (which was planned for 2020- 2021, however, due to the pandemic situation, was held in 2021-2022). The competition was organized through the Creative Youth Program of the exhibition, which aimed at empowering, engaging, and involving youth in national innovation endeavours. Youth all around the world were encouraged to create and submit proposals for the national pavilion design display. Two student teams under the guidance of lecturers from the Bachelor of Design Honours Degree Programme, Department of Integrated Design participated in the global competition - Creative Youth Program (CYP). The project was coordinated in collaboration with Sri Lanka Export Development Board and Organizers of CYP- Dubai. The project requirements were briefed by the international organizers of Expo-2020 Dubai via an online meeting.
Both teams that participated in the competition led the competition and won the first and first runner up places. It was an exceptional opportunity to reveal the nation’s aspirations, challenges and achievements, and to showcase the country to an audience of millions.
The winners’ design concept for this global competition was “Opportunity beyond Waters”, which comprised the thematic statement, creative expression, and design solution. The notion “Opportunity beyond Waters” highlights the socio-cultural practices of Sri Lanka as an island nation with ancient maritime trade routes and cultural contacts with Far Eastern and Western regions of the world. The winning entry addressed the visitors’ journey interaction, interior ambience, and activities during the six months within the pavilion.
The first runnerup team’s design concept for the competition was “Island of Ingenuity”. The intention was to showcase the efforts of social, economic technological and cultural aspects that make up the life of the nation.
This achievement of the Department of Integrated Design students seized a 700 million L.K.R. financial sponsorship from the EXPO Dubai committee to construct the national pavilion, which the Sri Lankan authorities would have otherwise borne. This was additional to the competition-winning price of 6000 USD awarded to the winning team. The international recognition and sponsorship drawn to the competition were highlighted at the Press Briefing held at Export Development Board on Sri Lanka’s Participation at Dubai Expo (26.02.2019.) with the participation of former Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade Mr Maliik Samarawickrema, Chairperson and Chief Executive of E.D.B. Mrs Indira Malwatte and Former Vice-Chancellor of University of Moratuwa, Prof. K.K.C.K. Perera.
The winning team members were Dulaj Perera (Team Leader), Vikasitha Anumewan, Dinuka Amarakoon, Randika De Silva, Himesh Rajapaksha, Imali De Silva, Rajika Thilakarathne, Abdul Rahuman and the first runner up team consisted of Dinu Munasinghe (Team Leader), Udari Mohotti, Tharushi Mendis, Thirunika Nethmini, Deshaja Kulathunga, Warana Probodha, Jithmi Wijesinghe, Chalana Thilakarathna. The competition entries were coordinated by Ms. Ruwani Rathnayake (Lecturer) with the Sri Lanka Export Development Board and organizers of C.Y.P. Dubai. The two student teams were guided by Mr Dilina Nawarathne (Lecturer) and Archt. Sagara Jayasinghe (Senior Lecturer), respectively, and teams were steered by the Former Head of Department, Archt. Sithumini Rathnamalala.
Sensory experiencing corners for spices and traditional crafts (rendered view) - 1st runner up team.