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Innovative Kiwi creation takes centre stage at entrance to Expo 2020 Dubai

Expo 2020 Dubai is expected to attract 25 million visitors over the next six months who will be greeted by a spectacular New Zealand-created architectural installation on the entrance canopy.

Dubbed ‘WonderCool’ the canopy was created by Wellington’s Kaynemaile and not only delivers a dramatic and kinetic aesthetic but also shields visitors from desert heat as they await entry. 

The arrivals hall installation was commissioned by Dubai World Trade Centre (DWTC), and is intended to be a legacy project that will remain in place beyond the end of Expo 2020, unlike most of the individual country pavilions. Among the 192 country pavilions is New Zealand’s, which also features Kaynemaile on its façade. 

Kayne Horsham, Kaynemaile’s CEO and inventor of the revolutionary polycarbonate architectural mesh used for both installations says the company is delighted to showcase Kiwi innovation on this important world stage.

“We’ve been delivering creative architectural solutions at scale for projects all over the world for the past 15 years, which are all created and made right here in New Zealand, but the opportunity to be part of Expo 2020 in such a significant way is a major milestone for us,” says Horsham. 

The arrivals hall canopy is comprised of 55 overhead kinetic mesh screens running the length of the 60m-long structure, using a total of 12,000m2 of Kaynemaile’s mesh, which is all manufactured at Kaynemaile’s workshop in Wellington.  

Kaynemaile’s mesh is crafted from lightweight engineering grade polycarbonate using their own patented injection moulding process, and in the Expo 2020 installation it moves to trigger air movement and the interplay of shadow and light throughout the arrivals hall. At night the mesh’s diffusive and reflective qualities enable the installation to come to life with a dynamic light show.

The three-dimensional mesh structure means a high proportion of the mesh surface area is always in shade, giving a cooling effect as the air passes through the cross-sectional open area. It significantly reduces both radiant and thermal conductive heat from entering the building envelope by up to 70 percent.

“We were delighted Kaynemaile was selected for this mammoth design, manufacturing and installation task, after numerous other more traditional materials had not met the grade in field testing for performance in hot, dry and windy conditions.”

Kaynemaile’s key partner in co-designing and engineering a solution for the arrivals hall over a four-month period was Woods Bagot Architecture, working alongside Mace Group UAE, the technical consultants for the DWTC. Kaynemaile then custom-produced the mesh for the canopy over three months at its facility in Wellington in four high performance exterior colours, which reflect the desert-inspired colour palette that is used throughout the space.

The inspiration for Kaynemaile came from Kayne Horsham’s role as Art Director for Creatures, Armour, and Weapons on the Academy Award-winning Lord of the Rings trilogy. Horsham was responsible for designing and prototyping all the armour systems used in making the films and became captivated by the kinetic and visual effects of chainmail. 

Kaynemaile won ‘best new architectural product’ at the NYCxDesign Awards in 2017 and is used in design solutions across the US, Australia, China, Germany, Dubai, Italy, New Zealand, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, South Korea, the UK and Vietnam. Kaynemaile’s polycarbonate mesh is 100 percent recyclable and aligns with the circular economy approach to design and manufacturing.

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