EXPO 2015. Italian Pavilion

With: Studio Beretta Associati and Bernard Dubois

The project for the Italian Pavilion is a radial structure made of wood with a centralized luminous core. The structure, along with its accompanying floor plans, rises with a progressive torque to create a dramatic spatial and volumetric composition. The programmatic choice of a centralized plan in keeping with the continuous history of Italian architectural and urbanistic precedents presents a clearly organized distribution of  interior space. Thanks to its dynamic and torqued movement upwards, the design strategy presupposed an evocative metaphor suggesting the idea of constant growth.

In the context of this project wood plays a dual role: at once traditional and innovative, the choice of this  material signals a synthetic approach in harmony with the underlying objectives of the EXPO. If the design is traditional in its its approach to the factors of time and space, it is also innovative, especially with regard to Italian architectural culture, in which wood has always been used more as an element of craft than for structural purposes. Moreover, the use of wood in the production of an architectural symbol for the idea of Italian nationality reflects a desire to see the project as a stimulus for a renewable future for Italian artisans, carrying forward a venerable tradition in their skillful utilization of this material.

The project seeks to promote a spontaneous exchange between inside and outside while stimulating a progressive enlargement of the perception of space. This aspect of the design is furthered by the arrangement of the articulated beams that lead the visitor to discover, in dynamic fashion, the moving contours of the Pavilion by following the shifting directionality of the facades. The relationship between outside and inside is also registered in the symbiosis with the natural elements: a centrifugal force expands and connects the Pavilion with the greenbelt which surrounds the EXPO site as a whole.

The project also thematizes the natural world in its conception of the way light is produced, a phenomenon studied in its multiple aspects by Studio Pasetti. Working with advanced technologies, the luminosity is designed as a guide to the different activities that the Pavilion will host but also as an instrument of visual communication in its own right emphasizing the iconic geometry of the exterior skin.

The project includes four temporary pavilions sited on the cardo of the Exhibition Park. As a response both to the temporary character of the project and to the need for future reversibility, a modular wooden system corresponds to the structural logic of the existing tent elements. The overall form of these pavilions, however, is not designed exclusively for the purpose of eventual refunctionalization but is strongly characterized in architectural terms: hence, even if  the specific artistic contribution of Dante Ferretti is emphasized through a consistent emphasis on homogeneous surfaces, the oblique orientation of the structural beams, key to the architectural identity of the proposal, figures prominently in the entrance area. Moreover, as it is fully glazed and double-height, this area provides a welcoming space for visitors while integrating them into the experience and activity of the exhibitions inside.

A collaborative spirit, taking the original concept as its point of departure, was the main priority of the interdisciplinary approach adopted for the EXPO proposal: the structural engineering firm  Redesco with Mauro Giuliani, together with the engineering team Tekser, devised a research strategy with the architects to realize a sustainable and innovative design.