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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - OSAKA: Saudi Minister of Culture Prince Badr bin Abdullah bin Farhan unveiled the Saudi Arabia pavilion for Expo 2025 Osaka at a gala dinner in Osaka on Wednesday under the heading “Designing the Future Society for Our Lives.”
“It’s a great pleasure to be here in Japan and particularly to be here in Osaka, one of the great cities of the Far East,” Prince Badr said. “Saudi Arabia is excited to participate in Expo 2025 Osaka because we recognize that as a nation to which again and again the world looks for inspiration and leadership, Japan is and will be the perfect host.”
The pavilion aims to reflect the story of Saudi Arabia from antiquity to the present and into the future. Prince Badr highlighted the Kingdom’s promotion of culture and the arts, which has seen the establishment of numerous museums and art galleries in recent years, as well as its energy and environmental plans.
Sumayyah Al-Sulaiman, CEO of the Architectural Arts and Design Commission, spoke on the symbolic representation of the building and its concept, which encompasses the different aspects of the Kingdom’s historical traditions and culture. The pavilion highlights the wonders of Saudi Arabia, is environmentally friendly, and blends tradition with modernity.
Al-Sulaiman said that the aim of the design is “to create a journey of discovery that’s ultimately about cultural exchange and sharing knowledge between visitors from all around the world and the people of Saudi Arabia.”
He added: “The pavilion’s design highlights the many harmonies and shared attributes between the cultures of Saudi Arabia and Japan, and the idea is to establish impactful, meaningful connections by unifying the people of both nations.
“The pavilion will enable a journey of exploration that will transport you to Saudi Arabia’s towns and villages, with a central courtyard that embodies a sense of calm during the day and provides excitement and entertainment during the evening to create a building that is authentic not just to Saudi Arabia, but also to its context in Osaka, a pavilion that is ultimately a celebration of human experiences.”
Al-Sulaiman said that the pavilion will be composed of different blocks where the inside and the outside mix, like the typical courtyard of Saudi homes. Evening, concerts and attractions will bring the courtyard to life. In keeping with the aim of being environmentally friendly, there will be solar panels on the roofs of each block, so the pavilion will emit very little carbon dioxide.
Othman Almazyad, the commissioner-general of Saudi Arabia’s Osaka pavilion, who studied in Japan, commented on Japanese hospitality and respect for traditions.
Guests at the dinner, which was prepared by Saudi chefs, were greeted by a curated photo exhibition of Saudi Arabia and were shown a video titled “Kingdom on the Rise,” before a 3D model of the Saudi pavilion was unveiled accompanied by a multimedia presentation. The event also included live Arabic calligraphy, a Samri performance, and the serving of dates and coffee.
Between the speeches, Saudi musicians performed music from Saudi Arabia, accompanied by two groups of dancers.
The Kingdom’s participation at Expo 2025 Osaka builds on the long-lasting relationship between Japan and Saudi Arabia, and the cultural gala celebrated increased investment, tourism and cultural exchange between the two countries.
Vice Minister of Culture and Chairman of the Executive Committee for Saudi Arabia at Expo 2025 Osaka Hamed bin Mohammed Fayez said: “With diplomatic relations between Saudi Arabia and Japan first officially established in 1955, and the launch of Expo 2025 Osaka marking 70 years of official relations, the two nations share deep cultural traditions. Our heritage is both rooted in hospitality, generosity, a sense of community and a deep respect for others. As Saudi Arabia progresses ahead with Vision 2030, fostering economic diversification and cultural exchange, we look forward to celebrating our shared values at Expo 2025 Osaka.”
The event revealed the pavilion’s design curated by leading architects Foster + Partners, signifying a celebration of the Saudi and Japanese relationship through heritage and architecture. The sustainable design pays tribute to Saudi Arabia’s natural environment, blending the shapes of the desert with modern architectural elements, symbolizing a connection between historical legacy and future advancements.
With a strong emphasis on environmental responsibility, the design incorporates features to lower carbon emissions, uses energy-efficient lighting, implements rainwater harvesting, and is equipped with solar panels to produce clean energy.
The identity of Saudi Arabia at Expo 2025 Osaka was revealed through an innovative logo that blends the word “Saudi” in the aesthetic of Japanese script within the Kingdom’s map, depicted through Arabic calligraphy in a style reminiscent of Japanese penmanship. The unveiling of the logo complemented the architectural design of the pavilion.
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