Shahram Agaajani; Born in Tabriz (Iran) in 1976, Shahram Agaajani is an architect and a founding partner of METAFORM architects. He studied architecture at La Cambre (Bruxelles) graduating with Magna cum Laude in 2001. In 2003 he established METAFORM architects together with Thierry Cruchten. Since then, the award-winning firm has grown to become a multidisciplinary team of over 50 collaborators with offices in both Luxembourg and Dubai.
The firm’s key achievements, including the creation of the Luxembourg pavilion at Expo2020 in Dubai and Luxembourg’s first Velodrome, bear witness to its know-how and expertise. Their creative and daring approach brings a distinct signature style to each project.
Luxembourg @ Expo 2020
Dubai – Groupement d ’Intérêt Économique
Design concept: Metaform
Scenography: Jangled Nerves
General contractor: NUSSLI
The main inspiration for the pavilion design comes from Metaform Architects’desire to convey a true reflection of Luxembourg’s past, present, and future, while also presenting the values of the country: small but ambitious, intriguing yet reassuring, and above all generous and open. What better inspiration than a Möbius strip, a loop, a single surface twisted with neither beginning nor end, symbolizing infinity and, most of all, the circular economy and diversity united as one.
One of the biggest challenges was to find a good flow for visitors to pass through quickly. A setback was thus created between the main walking street and the pavilion: the space and distance offer a clear perception of the whole. Given that the visitor experience begins in the waiting line, Metaform designed a ramp as a welcoming red carpet, inviting people to discover the building, and guiding them along a continuous path that blurs the limits between the exterior and interior.
How do you merge user experience, scenography, and architecture? Scenography and architecture are complementary in the mission to merge people with the exhibition. In a didactic, interactive, and intuitive way, different projections and animations display the country and its people. Collectively, it creates a continuous flux of images from start to finish for experiences on the top second floor. The ribbon becomes a multilayered scenography canvas, alternating floor, wall, and ceiling as means of expression.
The journey from the bottom to the top is continuous, but constantly changing. While moving between the inner and outer protective skins, the feeling of being in and out at the same time prevails. The proportion of the space constantly changes, giving a nod to the similar perceptional changes of Luxembourg City due to its very particular and unique landscape. A variety of parallel visual connections are created on different levels, and through different stages. Ambiances and moods shift instantaneously, sparking curiosity to learn more about the country.
One of the requirements was to complete the project using 70% reused or recycled materials, which was a challenge that Metaform met by opting for steel construction. The fiberglass membrane, although difficult to recycle, can be reused by the producer, who specifically agreed with it.