Mobility Pavilion

The 35th edition of the five-yearly Expo World Expo will be held in Dubai from 1 October 2021 to 31 March 2022.  The main theme is "Connecting Minds, Creating the Future" and the sub-themes are "Sustainability", "Mobility" and "Opportunity".


The Mobility Pavilion is one of the three themed pavilions and is also called Alif; named after the first letter of the Arabic alphabet and a symbol of the beginning of progress. The pavilion is characterised by its unusual shape, which when viewed from above resembles a fidget spinner. It will host performances, events and demonstrations dedicated to mobility with the aim of promoting creativity, innovation and cooperation worldwide.

The building is 25 metres high and consists of three floors that can be reached by the world's largest passenger lift. This lift can accommodate more than 160 people; 38 taking into account the 1.5 metres distance between them.


The building was designed by the award-winning design firm Foster&Partners. The design takes into account strict sustainability standards. For example, it is self-shading, the heat is reflected by the metal cladding and there are solar panels on the roof.

After EXPO 2020, the pavilion will continue to exist and become an integral part of District 2020.


For the facade construction, Kersten bent 7 different aluminium extrusion profiles, sawed them to size and provided them with a heat treatment. The profiles were used to connect the main steel construction with the glass of the windows and the sun louvers on the outside.

Some of these profiles contain a thermal break for the purpose of insulating the building. It is important for the bending process that the rubber is not rolled up too tightly and can move along with the rolling motion of the bending machine. In this way, both aluminium parts of the profile are bent to the correct radius in a single process. Because the structure is widening towards the top, the profiles are bent in different radii.

Kersten was involved in this project from an early stage. We advised our client's drawing engineers and purchasing department about the ideal profile cross-sections, and had direct contact with the project leader and the construction team on-site. 

Kersten bent and sawed more than 2,000 profile sections to size in total. These were then treated in our ageing furnace. The parts were shipped to the United Arab Emirates in specially manufactured transport crates.

When viewed from above the pavilion resembles a giant fidget spinner.