Government releases £1.4 million tender for Expo 2025 UK Pavilion

The design of the pavilion should position the UK as “a forward-thinking nation with a rich cultural heritage”.

The Department for International Trade has released a tender valued at £1.4 million for the design of the UK Pavilion at Expo 2025 Osaka.

The Expo will bring together around 150 nations to explore solutions to contemporary challenges under its overarching theme Designing Future Societies for Our Lives. Its key ambitions are demonstrating breakthroughs in technology and sharing ideas on the topic, increasing Japan’s trade and investment, innovation and supporting the growth of regional economies and SMEs.

The Expo 2025 Logo. Image credit: Aleksandra Tokarz on Shutterstock

The UK Pavilion will have a medium-sized plot in the Saving Lives district. Its theme will be See Things Differently – Tomorrow, Today. According to the tender, the chosen design studio will be expected to “produce creative ideas to shape the concept, content and visitor experience” for the pavilion.

To tie in with the government’s sustainability goals, the pavilion itself must be easy to disassemble and/or moveable. Designers would need to consider how assets relating to the pavilion can be reused or recycled after deconstruction.

The Government would like the pavilion to exemplify the UK as a science superpower with leading health and technology industries. Other strengths to be demonstrated are the UK’s world-class universities, high-tech start-ups, creative industries and goods and beverage sectors.

According to the provisional specification a strong UK presence at Expo 2025 will strengthen the country’s relationship with Japan and present opportunities for the UK to outline its progress towards the 2030 targets for Sustainable Development Goals and to attract more visitors to the UK.

Local market testing should be carried out before content delivery as the experience must be suitable for its Japanese audience, particularly visitors from the Osaka Kansai region. Although all content and directional signage should be in both Japanese and English, written communication should be kept to a minimum as the content must be understood in any language.

The Expo 2020 UK Pavilion by Es Devlin designed to highlight artificial intelligence and the space sector. Image credit: Abie Davies, Shutterstock

Design work for both the experience and the pavilion must be identifiably British without relying on stereotypes, while also striking a balance between the modern and traditional. The experience must also be suitable for any weather condition, day or night.

The chosen agency will need to work with appointed sponsors – who will also become part of the story – on the deliverables of the design work. Value for money must be carefully considered throughout.

Additional design work involves the queuing experience as an extension of the pavilion experience as well as a virtual version of the pavilion which can be visited online.

The Government may subsequently commission the studio to work in a supporting role with architects and construction contractors to complete the design of the pavilion, oversee the eventual content and visitor experience implementation and manage the live experience in delivery.

The Expo will take place from 13 April – 13 October 2025. Applications close on 9 December at 12pm.

The successful design consultancy will be expected to start the contract on 21 March 2023. The contract is set to finish on 21 December 2025.

The Department for International Trade intends to hold a Virtual Supplier Engagement Day on Monday 21 November 2022. Designers can express interest in attending by messaging the department via Jaggaer.

More information on the tender and how to apply can be found here.

Banner image by Mirko Kuzmanovic, Shutterstock.

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