sabeel is a neighbourhood fountain where water is dispensed to travellers and passers-by, at crossroads, in city squares and outside mosques across the UAE.

Drawing from the Expo 2020 Dubai theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, and its subthemes of ‘Opportunity’, ‘Mobility’ and ‘Sustainability’, Sabeel 2020 is an opportunity for UAE-based creatives to design a new icon, one that is set to be a key feature of Expo 2020 and its legacy. The winning design – a new sabeel for 2020 and beyond – will enable those visiting Expo 2020 to access fresh drinking water.

“Water is one of our most precious resources and the traditional sabeel fountains are key features of the UAE’s public spaces, reflecting the important role that shared water sources play in the prosperity and connection of our communities," said Marjan Faraidooni, Chief Pavilions and Exhibitions Officer, Expo 2020 Dubai. "The fountains provide a source of comfort for passers-by, especially during hot weather conditions.”

The jury set with the task of selecting the winning design(s), includes: Asif Khan MBE, the London-based key architect of the arrival plazas and concourses in Expo 2020’s public realm; Christopher Turner, Keeper of Design, Architecture and Digital at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London; Hani Asfour, Dean at Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI), Dubai Design District; Manal Ataya, Director General, Sharjah Museums Authority; Marjan Faraidooni, Chief Pavilions and Exhibitions Officer at Expo 2020 Dubai; Nasser Abulhasan, Principal at Kuwait and Spain-based AGi architects; and Shumon Basar, a Dubai and Berlin-based writer and curator.

From the Abdul Latif Jameel Water and Food Systems Lab at MIT through to the positioning of Jameel Arts Centre on the Dubai Creek, an interest in, respect and concern for water flows through Art Jameel's global philanthropy programme. Fady Mohammed Jameel, Chairman and Founder of Art Jameel, said: “Art Jameel is delighted to collaborate with Expo 2020 Dubai in a curatorial capacity to realise this dynamic project – a major opportunity for UAE-based designers, architects and artists that also creates a moment of reflection on one of the key concerns of our time.” 

Up to three winning designs will be selected by the appointed jury, with Expo 2020 offering AED 100,000 in prize money to each winner. The winning designs will be put through rigorous product development and reproduced across the Expo 2020 district (with more than 45 fountains set to feature on site).

Registration for the open call open closes September 10, 2019. For more information click here.