The Sabeel Fountains, a series of almost 40 aesthetically eye-catching drinking fountains designed to both refresh and wow visitors to the biggest cultural gathering in the world, can now be found across the public spaces of the Expo 2020 site.
From one fountain designed to resemble a beautiful letterbox, complete with an embossed letter by its artist, to another that features a mini ‘natural world’, the innovative Sabeel Fountains are contemporary artistic interpretations of the traditional Emirati drinking fountain – sabeel.
They reflect the country’s heritage and its spirit of hospitality and generosity.
The initiative is a collaboration between Expo 2020 and Art Jameel that began in September 2019, with the Sabeel 2020 open call.
The design contest, which received more than 100 proposals, was overseen by an internationally renowned jury, who selected and awarded two design collaboratives – UAE-based creative studio Architecture + Other Things and design team Faissal El-Malak and Alia Bin Omair.
Their designs, Water in the Green and Nahel respectively, collectively known as Signature Fountains, have been reproduced, with a total of 37 fountains throughout the public spaces of Expo 2020.
Water in the Green combines robust materials with plants that highlight Expo 2020’s aim to be the most sustainable World Expo in history, while Nahel features motifs of humankind, nature and technology.
Expo 2020 also invited two contemporary artists, Nasir Nasrallah and Dana Awartani, to create larger drinking fountains, known as Artistic Fountains.
Nasrallah’s Letter to Water can be seen as a love letter to water, while Awartani’s the Well resembles a stone well.
Marjan Faraidooni, chief experience officer at Expo 2020 Dubai, said: “Through these beautiful and innovatively designed drinking fountains, we invite visitors to take a moment to pause as they quench their thirst and consider their own connection to this most precious resource.
“The Sabeel Fountains also offer an unmissable opportunity for the public to discover UAE and regional design talent.”
The Sabeel Fountains invite millions of visitors to discover the centuries-old tradition of how, through public drinking fountains, emiratis share their water with people in need.
The fountains will leave a lasting impact as part of the next World Expo’s legacy, living on after Expo’s doors close as part of the human-centric future city of District 2020.