The many faces of Monaco

04 March 2021
The sovereign principality is hoping to present a deep dive into its art, culture and ecology at Expo 2020 Dubai

For the principality of Monaco, Expo 2020 Dubai presents the chance to provide a unique perspective of the nation’s variegated offerings.

Inspired by a kaleidoscope, the theme ‘Monaco 360° – a World of Opportunities’ will emphasise the lesser-known aspects of Monaco.  

“Monaco's diversity and opportunities are like this optical instrument with two or more reflecting surfaces: it always offers new facets,” says commissioner general Albert Croesi and managing director of Monaco Inter Expo, the organiser of the pavilion.

“The kaleidoscope is therefore an ideal metaphor to showcase Monaco's excellence in all areas at expo: art, culture, history and science, gastronomy, hospitality and luxury, research, environment and new technologies.”


The Monaco pavilion imbibes the fascia of a kaleidoscope in its very design, taking visitors on a multi-sensory journey through mirrored exhibition spaces and replicating the sights and smells of the French Riviera.

Located in the Opportunity district, the polygonal pavilion features two main exhibition areas. The first, called the 'Garden of Opportunities', includes a variety of interactive experiences that will bring to life Monaco's warm, sunny climate.

To enable communication between visitors and hosts, an interactive bench placed in this section of the pavilion will allow visitors to connect with people seated on another interactive bench right in the centre of the Monaco harbour.

Next, visitors will enter the 'Kaleidoscope show', which will showcase the country's expertise in art, culture, innovation, history, gastronomy and more.

Maraterra, a new waterfront eco-district in Monaco, will be showcased in this space. Designed as an extension of the existing coastline, Mareterra is scheduled to be completed in 2024.

The pavilion will offer a takeaway restaurant called “Café de Paris”. With the support of the Monte-Carlo Societé des Bains de Mer (SBM), a leading hospitality and tourism venture in Monaco, visitors will be able to discover some Mediterranean specialities throughout the day, including barbajuan, a traditional vegetable savoury pastry.

Finally, Monaco will showcase its ecological footprint, technology geared towards education, construction, science and its cultural spirit.

“We want to make a key contribution to the Opportunity thematic district,” says Croesi. “Share the Monegasque savoir-faire and life skills, how we found the balance between human technological development and respect of the earth eco-system.”

The main contractor on the pavilion is Germany-based Facts and Fiction, while the design was delivered by architecture firms AODA (Monaco) and OOS (Switzerland).

Work on the pavilion is nearly finalised, with outdoor paving and landscaping nearing completion. A French Riviera-coloured harlequin vinyl covers the entire external facade. Inside, the air conditioning, irrigation and fire safety systems have been deployed. The scenography that will make up the tour will be installed in April.

Following the megaevent, the Monaco pavilion will be completely dismantled and 80 per cent of its material will be recycled.

Innovative practices

In terms of innovation, “Monaco has not only wanted to showcase innovation during the event, but has wanted to integrate as much innovation right from the start,” says Croesi.

Keen to demonstrate Monaco’s efforts in the environment and ecology fields, the pavilion has installed a grey water recycling technology provided by Monegasque firm FGWRS.

“Grey water is the wastewater produced by daily domestic activities,” explains Croesi. “An astronomical quantity of water lost worldwide after washing machines, showers and kitchens have been operated. In the context of a proven climate crisis, and with estimates suggesting that 25 per cent of the world population will lack water by 2030, it is important to act now.”

FGWRS' goal is to recycle 80 per cent of grey water, while providing visitors access to daily figures that demonstrate the efficiency of this water treatment process as well as energy production.

The pavilion is also striving to be self-sufficient in terms of its energy needs. In February 2021, Emirates Insolaire, a joint venture of Dubai Investments and Swiss manufacturer Swissinso, announced that it had installed its patented Kromatix coloured photovoltaic (PV) panels on the façade of the main building and standard PV systems on the adjacent building. The panels are estimated to provide 85 per cent of energy savings, and meet the entire energy demand of the pavilion.

After the expo, the panels will be donated to a yet-to-be confirmed organisation.

Meanwhile, Monaco-based automotive manufacturer Venturi will showcase some of its high-tech vehicles at the pavilion.

Building relations

Croesi regards the primary goal of the Monegasque participation to be the development and strengthening of new relationships with the UAE and other international participants.

Monaco will also use its pavilion as a business platform for its own entities, including the Monaco Economic Board (MEB), which is Monaco's chamber of commerce, providing a space for meetings and discussions.

The pavilion has partnered up with a wide range of institutional entities, including the Palace of Monaco, the communication department of the Monaco Government, Monaco City Hall, the Scientific Centre of Monaco (CSM), Monaco Explorations, the Ballets of Monte-Carlo, the Philharmonic Orchestra and more.

CSM was established in 1960, to provide Monaco with the means to conduct its own biological research. Through Expo 2020, the centre hopes to create new ties with the Gulf and global scientific community.

“Our future will be built on the basis of the scientific knowledge accumulated by researchers,” says Denis Allemand, scientific director of CSM. “It is therefore necessary to connect all people and it is in this spirit that the CSM approaches the theme of Expo 2020 Dubai.”

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