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Connecting Spaces

This call aims to identify innovative ideas and proposals by young designers in collaboration with Lombardy's companies. The theme of the Competition is “Connecting Space”, which refers to the Expo 2020 Dubai themes of Sustainability, Mobility and Opportunity.

The Competition topics are consistent with the project statement of the Italian Pavilion at Expo Dubai 2020: Creativity, Connection and Competence. These aim to highlight the Italian ability to create innovation combining expertise and beauty, art and science, tradition and technology, as a dialogue platform on a global level.


Design objects to connect spaces and evoke the Italian tradition of craftsmanship interpreted in an innovative way.

This category includes all the handicrafts and design objects that present a highly innovative content regarding design and construction process, form, materials and possible uses.

The proposals must be conceived as furniture components to be placed in secondary rooms and areas of the Expo site, both outdoors and indoors. In addition, they must provide continuity and be recognisable to the visit routes. The choice of the type of product is left to the initiative of the designers and can vary from outdoor or indoor furniture (e.g., chairs, trash bins, information totems) to special items
(e.g., protective barriers, interactive objects).

The materials that can be used vary from traditional craft materials (e.g., wood, ceramic, fabrics, glass, metals), to composite, recycled, advanced and smart materials, able to react to specific environmental stimuli with a change in their physical properties (e.g., phase change materials, bimetals).

In addition, Innovative Crafting includes all those artefacts made with technological and digital tools, such as 3D printers, laser cutters and small robots.


Spaces connected through digital, IoT, new domotics technologies applied to design and information design.

This category includes designing and equipping spaces with digital devices and systems to enrich the visitors’ experience of the exhibition sites of Expo Dubai 2020.

The choice of the proposal idea is left to the creativity of the participants. They should try to establish a virtual connection between the ancillary Expo areas, both inside and outside the pavilions. Designers should propose innovative interpretations of traditional components (e.g., interactive information totems, recharging points for electronic devices, internet connection spaces) or designs of new technological devices (e.g., devices for personalized experience, smart working stations).


Temporary structures to connect people (e.g., resting and prayer areas, children’s areas, environmental comfort zones).

This category includes the design of small structures, even the movable ones, to be mainly installed in outdoor spaces, to be used for different purposes, i.e. for waiting, resting, contemplation, prayer, playing, etc. In this context, the participants are invited to design kiosks, small pavilions, pergolas, etc. in a creative and innovative way.

The choice of materials and construction is left to the participants. However, the objects and the construction must be light, easily dismantled and ecologically sustainable.

From the functional point of view, the designs should be able to serve a specific need (e.g., waiting for public transport) or create flexible multi-purpose spaces, which can also be used to host short-term and small-scale exhibition events.