Dubai Expo installation bathes visitors in surreal waterfalls

International

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Expo 2020 Dubai has unveiled one of its must-see attractions: ‘Surreal’ is new water feature that towers more than four stories high.

It was designed by Los Angeles, California-based water feature firm WET.

“We’re combining here the creativity of what man can do – humankind at our best – with the power and the richness of nature,” says the company’s CEO Mark Fuller.

“It’s bringing joy to people. They’re seeing it almost as nature but carved into a sculpture by man.”

Standing beneath the towering installation, visitors feel as if they’re about to be engulfed in a waterfall, when suddenly, the water seemingly disappears beneath their feet.

Water falls to the cue of music written by Ramin Djawadi, the composer of the Grammy Award-nominated theme music for Game of Thrones and Westworld.

Following the theme of ‘Sustainability’ – one of Expo 2020’s main themes – organizers say the installation is designed to be eco-friendly, wasting no water, aside from what evaporates during the spectacle.

When day turns to night, the installation takes on another appearance – cascading shoots of colour providing a spectacle for onlookers.

“If you stand there, you can, it feels like the water is falling to you. But then it just magically disappears into your feet. You don’t even feel the water,” says 19-year-old flight training student, Rodrigo Ralha.

“It’s cool, it’s got light flashing everywhere, and the music is unbelievable,” says Debbie McKay, a midwife from Australia.

This year’s Expo is unfolding as the coronavirus continues to course across the world, with untold numbers still working and studying remotely — and connecting to the world virtually.

It’s unclear how many visitors Dubai can attract, and how much the Expo will stimulate its tourism-driven economy.

The coronavirus pandemic pushed Expo 2020 back a year and may affect how many people flock to the United Arab Emirates.

But the six-month-long exhibition still offers Dubai a momentous opportunity to showcase its unique East-meets-West appeal as a place where all are welcome for business.

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