The exposition Latvia - Soil (for innovation) is designed as a symbiosis of ancient and futuristic. The Latvian genetic code has been chosen as its basic material - peat, which is used as a canvas on which to tell the stories of Latvia's potential and future development. Prehistoric material contains unique information about the history of Latvia, ancient plants, trees, people, while modern technologies allow you to look to the future and tell about the vision of Latvia's future image.
Spatial organization of the exhibition hall
Conceptually, the exhibition is designed as a manifestation of constant progression. The visitor of the pavilion experiences four dimensions of Latvia. The further the visitor goes through the exposition, the wider view of Latvia as a place for growth and innovation he has experiences. The content of the exhibition is designed as 4 multimedia stories about Latvia in 4 different rooms/zones with 4 different volumetric elements (exhibits), told using 4 different digital technologies. The stories are derived from the main values of Latvia's image or: Latvia - Soil for experiments; Soil for discoveries; Soil for connectivity; Soil for innovation.
Sustainability and materiality
The exhibition is created as an example of sustainable thinking, where ecological, renewable material coexists with modern technologies. After Expo 2020 exposition peat will be returned back to swamp – the place where it came from. There it will blend with soil and disappear while technologies will be reused.
To further emphasize the contrast between prehistoric material and modern technology and at the same time emphasize harmony between two opposites, peat objects are made of sculptural reliefs created with the help of a three-axis robotic cutter using a digitally designed three-dimensional model. All elements are prefabricated in factory in Latvia and systematically assembled in pavilion.
Visitor journey and experience
The visitor's exposition experience begins already before entering the pavilion. On both sides of the pavilion door there are peat panels with information about what awaits the visitor in the exposition.
“Our land is like soil - the deeper you dig, the richer it gets. It's a place where no challenge is too big. Our land is a place where you can combine the most unimaginable things, creating something truly unique, a place for experiments and discoveries, a place for wild ideas that break borders. You can hear stories about Latvia. But once you experience its limitless dimensions, you can never forget it. And your experience starts right behind this door.”
1st dimension: Latvia - Soil for experiments
The first entrance room in the exhibition is the widest. In the centre is a free-standing peat column and the movement of visitors is organized around it. Four transparent display stands are arranged around the column. With multimedia video and audio stories visitors are introduced to Latvia as a whole and land for experiments.
“Latvia is young and full of youthful qualities - movement, energy, ambition and the desire to experiment. We don't like standing still, standing still is basically the same as going backwards. We have the power and the drive. And the more someone tells us we can’t do it, the more motivation it gives us to keep going. Meet the first of Latvia's dimensions - constant way forward. We are those who experiment with the different and the unknown. And if we don't succeed at first, it's not the end of the world. We try again until we're there. We are untamed and we like to do things our way. It is the persistence, endurance and passion which, instead of becoming the same as the world's best, has put us amongst them.”
2nd dimension: Latvia - Soil for discoveries
In the second room there is a free standing peat wall, which can be seen from two sides. Therefore the flow of visitors here is also divided into two relatively smaller groups. 8 combined LED screens (4 from each side) are built into the centre of the wall and the multimedia story on them is complemented by graphic elements projected with a video projector on a peat wall from both sides. In this space, Latvia is depicted as a land for discoveries.
“What is Latvia? It’s breathing the rhythm of nature and letting it shape our character. It’s cherishing everything it gives us – our strength and the materials we use. Our birch plywood now lives in the world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa, just 40 km from where you’re standing now. To always aim higher is coded in our nature. We produce drones, which can lift a person and spot people from miles away in the harshest conditions, be it day or night. If life is a game, then we want to play fair. Our adaptable gaming keypads are disability-friendly and suitable for left-hand use, giving equal opportunities to all. We deal with reality as it comes, but gladly embrace virtual reality to enhance it and save lives through VR trauma training for military and civilian organisations. And, when the reality of this Earth gets all too familiar, we seek to join NASA mission and send our technology to Venus to help detect obstacles in even the most extreme space conditions. Why not look at materials in a new light? The anti-reflective glass made in Latvia protects the most precious works of art in the Louvre in Paris. Our nature is a showcase of the sounds of silence. But when we want to be heard, we know how to make the world listen. We produce microphones used by the likes of The Rolling Stones and U2. And we shape the sound to our liking and the liking of such legends as Jack White, Rammstein, Tool, and many others. Even flying Latvia’s national airline means being nature-aware as it employs some of the greenest commercial aircrafts out there. Not to mention that you are always on time. Latvia is where our journey starts and takes us to fields of surprising opportunities. We’d love to see you become part of our discoveries.”
3rd dimension: Latvia - Soil for connectivity
The third room is designed as a room, that consists of 4 corner elements – 4 peat sculptures with, which surrounds visitors from 4 sides. If in the first room the movement of visitors was organized around a central object, then here the visitors are in the centre of the room and the multimedia story unfolds all around them. In the third room, Latvia is positioned as a land connecting different worlds. 360-degree video projection is created with 4 video projectors mounted on top of the exhibits.
“Look around you. Everything you can see and touch is thousands of years old. It’s Latvia’s peat, rich in stories of people, trees, plants, and adventure. Now, having taken on a new shape, it stands right before you. We are witness to our past crossing paths with today’s technology. This is what we do. We repurpose and give new life. We play and add dimensions to give you new perspectives. We know how to build machines, make quality products for the whole world, excel in science, and challenge what has never been questioned before. It is in our nature to create – for the big and the small, for those who build businesses and those who create. We do it, so their process of creation wouldn’t stop and people would gain new knowledge, learn new skills and expand on their everyday lives. Latvia itself is constantly moving forth and closely interacting with the world. What is the next necessity? Can we take something established and make it even better, or give something an unimaginable new form? After all, where are we now and where do we want to be tomorrow? That is a part of our mission - to be at the same speed with the globe, sometimes even faster. We connect the unconnectable by pooling our talents and stepping beyond the limits of time and our abilities.”
4th dimension: Latvia - Soil for discovery
If in the first three rooms the visitors were observers of the exposition, then in the fourth room they become the main content of the exposition. Space acquires its character when a person enters it. The fourth room puts the person at its center and breaks down existing boundaries. It also has a symbolic meaning at national level. At some point we are observers, at some point we become creators. Mirrors placed radially around the perimeter of the room and the visitor sees himself in them most fully when standing in the centre of the room. A sound installation is located around the perimeter of the room. In the room there is a wide-angle camera, which allows visitors to take a photos with themselves.
“When combined, all three dimensions you travelled through bring a fourth one to life. Innovation. Innovation begins when barriers in our minds are torn down, we take a step back and look at ourselves from a distance. Life lets you choose between being the spectator or the one being watched, yes, often by the entire world… We choose the latter. What about you? Now find the right spot in the room. Stand there and capture your experience.”
The epilogue has two LED stands located at the exit of the exhibition. Visitors can save the photo they have just taken and find out information about the activities of the Latvian pavilion on the 3rd floor.
Organization of visitor flow
In each of the rooms/zones, visitor group spends ~3 minutes and 1 minute for a sequential transition from one room to the next. The total duration of the exhibition visit is 15 minutes
Design, concept: Didzis Jaunzems, Ksenija Sapega, Justīne Kate Hesse, Helēna Laura Bindemane
Production, technologies: SOLAVI – Ints Bērziņš, Guntis Maisaks, Anda Zemīte, Juris Tautvaitis, Dāvis Ozoliņš
Construction: AD PRODUCTION – Jānis Miķelsons, Raivo Mužiks, Edgars Andersons
Multimedia: PUTNU STUDIJA – Roberts Rubīns, Māris Kalve, Viktors Keino, Dmitrijs Voloviks
Content: Kaspars Eglītis
Photo stand: OVERLY – Ainārs Kļaviņš, Miķelis Dumpis
Music: Reinis Sējāns
Photographer: Ēriks Božis