Milan Expo – Projection Mapping


World Expos last six months and attract tens of millions of visitors. They are packed full of exhibits, cultural events and pavilions, which are staged by international organisations, multinational businesses and the participating nations.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) had won the right to host the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, and they wanted to promote their country’s credentials with an impressive pavilion at the 2015 World Expo in Milan using projection mapping.

Our brief from Action Impact, a brand experience agency based in Dubai, was to produce all the content for the UAE’s pavilion.


The theme of Dubai’s 2020 World Expo is Connecting Minds, Creating the Future and it will focus on pioneering new paths of development and innovation.

Together with Action Impact, we built the projection mapping experience around this central theme; highlighting key ideas such as Dubai’s accessibility to the rest of the world, it’s rapid development and its growing economy.


We began by gathering the material that would feed into our content. This included archival footage, Arabic iconography and modern day imagery to capture the rich story of Dubai’s development.

We then began designing the visuals according to the event space. This included a 180° surface and a hydraulically-operated floor made up of moving segments. This required real-time projection mapping technology that could synchronise with the floor’s motion.

The 180° scrim was made of stretch tulle (a fine netting), which allowed for an LED matrix to be placed behind it. When activated, this LED matrix was visible through the 180° screen, creating a multi-layered effect that made for a grand visual finale.

We produced this highly complicated content in just three weeks, along with a 32 track soundscape for onsite mixing.


Gaining approvals for usage of archival footage and imagery was a lengthy process. This content formed a big part of the story we needed to tell, so these approvals threatened to slow our team and lengthen the production timeline.

To work around this, we established a workflow that allowed the team to continue producing content and swap out footage as approvals came through.

For what we needed to pull off, we had very little time for production, and a super tight bump-in schedule in Milan. So we needed to be very clever with our time, and strategic with how we operated.

To ensure efficiency throughout production, our technical team worked extensively to perfect the pixel maps, guaranteeing that each element and the projection mapping was completely accurate, first time round. We also employed an intelligent workflow methodology that ensured content feedback and updates were handled quickly.


Seeing the completed experience activated for the first time was truly mesmerising. Those who have already experienced it were left awestruck by the dazzling and dynamic tale in which they were immersed.

We are incredibly excited by the thought that over the next six months, an expected 20 million guests will get to experience the pavilion, and engage with the UAE’s message.