The sea theme and the hulls of three boats for the Italy Pavilion
“The hulls of three overturned boats: one white, one red and one green, which will form the largest Italian tricolour ever made in our country’s history”. Corriere Innovazione chronicles the Italy Pavilion which is taking shape on the Expo Dubai site
The sea theme and the hulls of three boats for the Italy Pavilion
The hulls are those of three overturned boats: one white, one red and one green, which will form the largest Italian tricolour ever made in our country’s history, representing the Italy Pavilion in Dubai for Expo 2020.
The Universal Exhibition, which was initially due to start this forthcoming October, has been postponed to October 2021 on request of the government of the United Arab Emirates.
All that remains is for the decision to be formalised by the intergovernmental body that governs Universal Exhibitions, the BIE (Bureau international des Expositions), which must ratify the postponement with the absolute majority of its 160 member countries.
The theme of the sea, therefore, was the one chosen by the Carlo Ratti Associati–Cra studio, the Italo Rota Building Office, Matteo Gatto & Associati and F&M Ingegneria to generate an “experiential container of technology”, as the designers define it. The sea and sea vessels have indeed brought about history’s greatest civilisations and are a symbol of the conquests, among others, of the ancient Greeks, Phoenicians, Romans and Egyptians at the time of the Pharaohs.
Expo Dubai, an opportunity for recovery and for relaunching “Made in Italy”
“The same conquests targeted by our small- and medium-sized innovative companies and start-ups: they, together with Italy’s economy and the ‘Made in Italy’ sector, will use Expo Dubai as an opportunity for recovery and relaunch,” explained the Commissioner General for Italy at Expo Dubai, Paolo Glisenti.
Conceived since the outset as a digital innovation hub and a demonstrative space, more than a mere exhibition venue, now, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, the designers consider it more important to bolster the pavilion’s digital dimension, by also privileging health and well-being. “We like the idea of a pavilion that can change form and function over time, that is live and incessantly evolving.
This both in the short term, thanks to the interactivity of digital applications, and also in the long run, thanks to circularity: the three boats come from the sea, are used as a space for events and, once the Expo ends after six months, will live on in different ways,” said architect Carlo Ratti.
A Factory Lab reveals Italy’s biodiversity
The goal of building a shell based on circular economy takes shape starting from the theme of algae, the project’s leitmotif, which are interpreted in various ways. The exercise aims to demonstrate how such a simple element like marine algae can be used to extract so many different materials and construct a building. What we hope to see is people being attracted to enter a “strange architecture” functioning both as an installation but also as a Factory Lab filled with plants revealing Italy’s extensive biodiversity.
The natural habitats will be recreated for each plant species, which will be constantly controlled by automated devices monitoring their health. There will also be an Education Lab equipped with advanced distance-learning systems and instruments for remote connections with universities and research centres. “Since the beginning we envisioned a sustainable building with low energy consumption, where almost all the materials could be recycled either in the form of matter or in the form of pieces” – explains the architect Italo Rota. It is a project we are developing with several Italian companies participating in the pavilion’s themes with their technologies.
At the same time, it is also a big challenge and, in order to succeed, we will have to integrate various factors: firstly, there will not be any climate control in the building and, despite the extreme climate of Dubai, the interior will have comfortable conditions also thanks to the permeability of the air of the facades, which alternate LED curtains and nautical ropes.
Moreover, the interior will have large bodies of water that are actually an algae factory and help to clean the air. Besides absorbing CO2 and other pollutants, algae will also be used as food and cooked inside the pavilion. There will also be algae that produce energy and others used in the form of powder and flour to make sun creams or to produce non-allergic wall paints”.
Natural materials, recycling and art
The building, which will reach a height of 27 metres and occupy 5,000 square metres, will be entirely dismantable and will lack concrete foundations, replaced by a plinth of sand extracted from the site’s excavations. In addition, certain sustainable or recycled materials, such as orange peels and coffee grounds, will be integrated into the project as construction elements, providing tangible evidence of the level of expertise Italy has reached also in this field.
But the most important aspect is salubrity: these neo materials create environments that are highly performing from a health perspective.
Also, the entire building will be controlled by means of a monitoring system that keeps the temperature and humidity levels constant for the physical well-being of the visitors. The theme chosen by the Commissioner’s Office for Italy’s presence at Expo Dubai, “Beauty connects people”, will be embodied by three works of art: Michelangelo’s David and two large neon works, one by Lucio Fontana and the other by Mario Merz: three elements that interact with the technologies present.
The pavilion will have a highly technological and educational content
“The pavilion will be designed to house interactive activities, both with the outside and internally, with potential international participants and will therefore be an important gathering space.
Consequently, we will bolster the pavilion under three aspects: Open Innovation (the pavilion will have to integrate the industrial, technological, scientific and manufacturing production chains in an expanded and highly demonstrative manner); Open Science (the pavilion must reveal the collaboration between research centres, science and industry); Open Source (the pavilion must become a space for aggregation traceability and the entry of data or information which, once the Expo is over, can be transferred or used later on).
In this sense, the building will be highly digitalised and, in its own small way, could represent the relaunching of Italy’s industrial, manufacturing and service sectors and the digitalisation of Italian production chains which are geared towards heavily relaunching their business and promoting it internationally,” ended Glisenti.
The experimental pavilion will have a highly technological and educational content: for this reason, the government of the United Arab Emirates has asked for it to be preserved for at least six years.
Carlo Ratti at the Corriere Innovazione 'Digital Lunch'
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