World Expo Osaka 2025: “Designing Future Society for Our Lives” In Full Swing

Expo 2025 is Coming! With 500 days to go, participants are in the thick of exciting preparations

Founded on an illustrious history that stretches back to 1851, the year of the very first gathering in London, the World Expo is a highly-anticipated event that attracts visitors in the tens of millions. Held at five-year intervals, the gargantuan global exposition typically runs for six months at a designated venue within the host country. The mammoth event showcases immersive exhibits, national pavilions, an array of engaging forums and activities, and much more — all of which pivot on the designated exposition theme for the particular year.

With guidance from the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the exposition’s main governing body, every World Expo is elaborately organized around and founded upon a carefully chosen theme. Generally speaking, the World Expo aims to uplift and better society, elevate humanity’s knowledge, foster cultural exchange and global dialogue, promote sustainability and future-readiness, as well as leave behind a legacy of innovation. These goals are embodied in and expressed through the chose theme.

With 500 days before the grand opening and advanced tickets sales opening on November 30, 2023, the organizing body is drumming up excitement with the catchphrase, “EXPO 2025 is coming!” championed by the official mascot, Myaku-Myaku.

Slated to open on April 13, 2025 in Osaka, the forthcoming World Expo will bear the main theme “Designing Future Society for Our Lives,” with three subthemes supporting the concept: Saving Lives, Empowering Lives, and Connecting Lives. The mega multinational event will take place on the reclaimed island of Yumeshima in Osaka Bay, in Japan’s Kansai region, and will run until October 13, 2025. Currently, 150 countries and territories, as well as 25 international organizations, are slated to participate. This expo will be the sixth official World Expo held in Japan and the second for Osaka Prefecture, which played host to Expo ’70 in Suita.

Recently, the Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition held the “International Participants Meeting 2023,” a two-day meeting of the Expo directors from various countries, regions, and international organizations. The group got together for in-depth sessions to enrich participants’ understanding of the Expo theme, as well as guide them through a range of relevant matters, such as the look-and-feel of the various Pavilions, operational preparations, exhibition construction, event planning, and more.

With 500 days before the grand opening and advanced tickets sales opening on November 30, 2023, the organizing body is drumming up excitement with the catchphrase, “EXPO 2025 is coming!” championed by the official mascot, Myaku-Myaku.  

Here’s a snippet of what to expect and what Bridges knows, so far.

Futuristic, awe-inspiring site design

Expect a feast for the eyes in the awe-inspiring overall expo site design that combines form and function with a futuristic and innovative yet eco-conscious aesthetic. At the helm of the master plan for the expo site is architect Sou Fujimoto, elected as Expo Site Design Producer. Fujimoto’s design, developed in partnership with Tohata Architects & Engineers, as well as with Azusa Sekkei Co., Ltd., features a 60,000 sqm timber structure that will encompass the exhibition grounds. The structure’s Ring Roof pays homage to customary Japanese timber craftsmanship present in quintessential structures such as the Kiyomizu Stage at Kyoto’s Kiyomizu-Dera Temple. The Ring Roof will rise between 12m and 22m in height, and will span roughly 600m in diameter. The top deck includes an accessible green roof that not only provides shelter from the elements, but also makes for a striking setting that is central to the entire Expo 2025 experience. The rooftop will likewise boast an observatory deck from which to take in the stunning seascapes of the island. Construction of the venue started in April 2023, and portions of the Ring are already visible, onsite.

Apart from designing the overall site, Fujimoto is likewise tasked with providing guidance to designers of the Official Participants’ Pavilions of the participating countries, for a cohesive look and feel.

State-of-the-art Pavilions

As with previous expositions, one of the major highlights of World Expo 2025 will be the pavilions of each participating country. Pavilions at previous expos have historically been known for their grand, avant-garde architectural designs, and Osaka 2025 will certainly be no different. There will be eight Signature Pavilions by Japanese producers. Additionally, the Official Participants’ Pavilions will represent every participating country’s vision for the future, with cutting-edge, state-of-the-art showcases of a future society, focusing on the importance of life. “These pavilions will utilize technologies and services that support the theme of the Expo…for the development, operation, exhibition, and events of the Expo site. The thrust is for it to be a ‘People’s Living Lab,’ in the form of ‘demonstration’ that gives a sense of the future after 2025 and ‘implementation’ that is suitable for the Expo,” Takuya Yoshiyasu, Global Public Relations & Promotions Division, Japan Association for the 2025 World Exposition, shared with Bridges in a previous interview about the event.

As the excitement builds and while most participating countries have yet to reveal their plans, a number of nations have already provided sneak peeks into their Pavilions. For instance, the Spanish Pavilion will be a creation of architecture and design firms Néstor Montenegro (EXTUDIO), Enorme Studio, and Smart and Green Design. The pavilion has been named “The Kuroshio Current,” for the nutrient-rich north-flowing, warm ocean current on the west side of the North Pacific Ocean basin. This current plays a significant role in influencing regional weather and climate patterns. Aside from its thrust on sustainability — especially obvious in its use of natural and environmentally low-impact materials in its design — the pavilion is a nod to Spain’s longstanding cultural and economic ties with Japan.

The Czech Pavilion, meanwhile, will bear the theme of “Sculpting Vitality” as interpreted by the innovative firm of Apropos Architects. The concept embodies the cultural wealth, inventiveness, and natural beauty of the Czech nation, pillars of their strength and vitality. It will also be a testament to the longstanding glassmaking tradition of the Czech Republic. Visitors who explore the pavilion — a massive spiral-shaped, multilevel glass-paneled structure reminiscent of a frozen spiral trajectory — will be enlightened about the country’s cultural riches, as well as their own inner richness to set them on a path of transformation and vitality.

Just like all previous expositions, the World Expo 2025 in Osaka will surely bear witness to humanity’s shared commitment towards creating a better future.

The Brazilian Pavilion will be created by architect Marcio Kogan, design studios MK27 and Magnetoscope, together with architects Renata Furlanetto and Marcello Dantas as co-creators. The pavilion will shine the spotlight on Brazil’s identity, with the goal of stimulating investment into the country, empowering lives in Brazil and beyond. Accessible ramps and an open front space are among the design features of Brazil’s pavilion.

While final plans have yet to be revealed for the Monaco Pavilion, indicators point to an art-infused green space that focuses on nature and a vegetal feel, overall. The pavilion will also likely be a platform for haiku-inspired poetry, as a cultural bridge between Japan and Monaco.

A lasting legacy, for generations

Just like all previous expositions, the World Expo 2025 in Osaka will surely bear witness to humanity’s shared commitment towards creating a better future. Just as past expositions have achieved, the Osaka Expo in 2025 will bring nations together to address global challenges and inspire people to mindfully design a more sustainable and inclusive world, beginning in their own lives. It’s an event with great potential and global impact, one that is intent on awakening the imagination, championing a spirit of innovation, fostering a sense of shared humanity, and leaving a lasting legacy for generations to come.

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