Bringing imagination to life

Expo 2020 Dubai connects minds and creates the future


Expo 2020 Dubai

Eight years and billions of dollars in the making, Expo 2020 Dubai is a celebration of human ingenuity and innovation. Spanning 438-hectares between Dubai and Abu Dhabi, Expo 2020 Dubai features some of the world’s most breathtaking feats of architectural genius and allows visitors to encounter and experience the culture, creativity and cuisine of a record 192 countries. At the heart of Expo 2020 Dubai sits Al Wasl Plaza and a spectacular dome that brings together the globe’s biggest entertainment acts and a world-first mesmerising light display.

RLB collaborated with an experienced and visionary client organisation and a diverse, multi-disciplinary team of global consultancies to deliver this exceptional event. With a long history of providing end-to-end cost management on some of the most iconic global gatherings – like the London 2012 Olympic Games to the Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games – RLB contributed to a talented team with a big challenge: to create an innovative, fresh and sustainable destination that also left a lasting legacy for the people of the United Arab Emirates.

At a glance

  • Client
    Bureau Expo Dubai 2020 LLC
  • Services
    Commercial Success
  • sector
    Convention &  Exhibition Centres, Public & Civic
  • Location
    Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Today’s showcase, tomorrow’s city

How do you plan for the greatest show on earth? To present the world’s biggest exposition over 182 days, while keeping one eye fixed on the future of the site, required careful planning and costing, visionary thinking and a deep commitment to sustainability. RLB’s full cost management and quantity surveying services for the overlay program – from feasibility estimates to cost optioning, budget setting to tendering, contract management to cost monitoring – allowed our team to balance the immediate challenges of hosting the expo, while catalysing economic opportunity and creating amazing and enduring places for the next generation of UAE citizens.

RLB, as part of a talented team of consultants and contractors, was set a complex challenge for Expo 2020 Dubai: to deliver a temporary event that captured the world’s imagination and showcased the brilliance of human ingenuity, while also creating a legacy for the UAE. To meet this challenge, RLB drew on deep experience with mega events, an unmatched track record with mixed-use projects and a determination to assess ideas from every angle.
Natalie Stockman, Director, RLB

RLB’s role started at the earliest stages of the program as the dream for Expo 2020 Dubai continued to evolve. We set budgets, assessed options, undertook tendering and managed contracts. We secured experienced event contractors and suppliers while also upskilling the supply chain to adapt their approach to meet the requirements of the largest event ever staged in the Arab world.

The world’s fair leaves legacies and landmarks

Expos are staged every five years and gift the world much-loved landmarks, like the Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Space Needle of Seattle, the world’s first Ferris Wheel in Chicago and, now, the extraordinary Al Wasl Dome.

Expos also shape the world by sharing the latest technology, from early computers displayed at the 1862 London International Exhibition on Industry and Art to the first live TV broadcast made at the New York World’s Fair in 1939. At Expo 2020 Dubai, visitors can encounter everything from performing robots and virtual realities to cutting-edge mobility and AI-generated poetry.

  • 438
    hectare site
  • 192
    country pavilions
  • 25
    visitors over six months

Places for people

The site used for the fair will become part of District 2020, a three million square metre development featuring commercial and residential buildings with Al Wasl Dome at the centre. Terra, the Sustainability Pavilion designed by Grimshaw Architects, will become a centre for children and science. Alif, the Mobility Pavilion envisioned by Foster and Partners, will be transformed into a commercial space. Mission Possible, the Opportunity Pavilion dreamed up by AGi Architects, will be reimagined as a mixed-use space.

Flexible and future-focused

Executing a multi-sensory exposition of this magnitude during a pandemic presented numerous challenges. A flexible approach, embedded in RLB’s culture and values, enabled our team to adapt to every situation and maintain strong relationships with multiple stakeholders. RLB is proud of our role bringing imagination to life on a once-in-a-lifetime event that harnesses human brilliance to build a better future for us all.