The Brilliance of Red Oak in The USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 - BluPrint

The Brilliance of Red Oak: The USA Pavilion Weaves Nature and Technology Into One To Preserve History and Celebrate the Future

April 5, 2022



Althea Villanueva

Throughout the history of nations, the United States of America has always proved itself to be a capable leader of liberty, independence, and innovation. Celebrating the history of America means celebrating change and freedom, a feat that is showcased through the wondrous exhibits in the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai.

Red oak decorates the walls of the USA Pavilion lobby

The USA Pavilion featured eight different exhibits with various iconic inventions, people, national artifacts, and companies, such as Thomas Jefferson’s personal copy of the Quran, a scaled replica of the Statue of Liberty’s torch, a touchable lunar sample, and a model of the Mars Opportunity Rover. Many of the exhibits include high-tech technology and futuristic devices made to celebrate the bright future of the country. 

The phenomenal union of nature and technology

With the theme Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of the Future, global architecture studio Woods Bagot and global experience design firm Thinkwell Group designed the interiors of the pavilion with extraordinary creativity by marrying the ultramodern and futuristic exhibits with the natural elements of red oak hardwood. Since the pavilion’s artifacts take us through an immersive time travel by showcasing the activities of 18th-century writers up to the latest smartphones, the flair of the red oak wood is the perfect structure to house these achievements. 

For over 25 years, the American Hardwood Export Council, or AHEC, has been the leading international trade association in the U.S. hardwood industry and always at the forefront of international wood promotion. With their hands-on facilitation and by providing their expert advice, the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 launched a successful opening back in 2020 and ran wonderfully until last March 31, 2022. According to a page in the AHEC website, red oaks are highly sustainable for both domestic and export consumption due to their abundance and the fast growth of the southern species. Red oak is known for its durability and impressive stability. Its warm reddish and pink tones create a welcoming atmosphere and pleasing neutral aesthetics that balance the overwhelming designs of technology. Because of these qualities, red oak is one of the most popular hardwoods to be used in majestic architecture designs or hardwood floorings in domestic homes.

Spanning over 4,000 square meters in size, the USA Pavilion exhibited American red oak as its standout factor. Facilitated by AHEC, naturally-finished red oak was donated by Dubai-based wood flooring specialists Lobo & Listone, an in-house design center with qualified designers aiming for sustainable solutions and catering to the specific needs of their clients. The hardwood adorns the USA Pavilion’s splendid interior main staircase, bench seating, feature walkthrough in the main auditorium, and exterior cladding surrounding the main entrance. 

“Of course it is wonderful to see sustainable American hardwoods in the USA Pavilion—it just makes sense,” AHEC Regional Director Roderick Wiles remarked. “I was particularly taken by the red oak cladding at the main entrance, which is in stark contrast to the rest of the all-metal star-studded exterior.”

Lobo & Listone donated over 250 square meters of red oak planks, which can all be replaced through natural regeneration in the U.S. hardwood forest for as quick as 6.25 seconds. Until the red oak is burnt or decomposes, approximately 6.4 metric tons equivalent of carbon dioxide will be kept out of the atmosphere. 

“Being a staunch promoter of sustainable living who supplies sustainably sourced wood flooring products in the Middle East, I was delighted to accept the invitation to provide wood flooring and allied works for the USA Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai,” Lobo & Listone’s Francis Lesly Lobo said. “Their choice of American red oak for the purpose was brilliant, especially as the unique properties of American red oak—hard and stable when dry, and easy to finish and stain—made it ideal for the project.”

Aside from the red oak, several other hardwood species were also found in the expo, such as the engineered white oak flooring in the gift shop and restaurant and the American black walnut veneers located in the rear entrance lobby, the bar, and the meeting rooms. 

With the joined forces of AHEC, Lobo & Listone, and Woods Bagot, the USA Pavilion is truly a sight to behold and a terrific memory for all those who witnessed the legends hidden within its expertly-curated architecture. Marvel at the past, present, and future while basking within the beauty and protection of natural elements.

Come and visit the USA Pavilion virtually on the website of Expo 2020. Learn more about AHEC and its activities in the hardwood trade industry by visiting their website, Facebook, and Instagram pages.