The Italian Pavilion by CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati, Italo Rota Building Office and F&M Ingegneria at Expo Dubai 2020

Padiglione Italia Expo Dubai 2020

The Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai is a large experimental installation capable of evolving over time in a sustainable way. The project, by CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati and Italo Rota Building Office with Matteo Gatto and F&M Ingegneria, focuses on the reuse of materials, circular economy and innovative materials.

Carlo Ratti explained that the design for the Italian Pavilion aims to explore the convergence of natural and artificial to anticipate strategies that will be increasingly crucial for the future of our cities, considering the current climate crisis. The pavilion is constantly changing, and talks about reconfigurability both in the long term, thanks to the circular approach, and in the short term, thanks to the use of digital technologies.

Structure and installations of the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai

The roof of the pavilion, made with three real-sized boat hulls, evokes the ancient maritime connections between Italy and the United Arab Emirates. The theme of the Italian pavilion, “Beauty connects people” is thus linked to that of Expo 2020 Dubai “Connecting minds, creating the future”. The main front of the building features a curtain-shaped multimedia façade made of nautical ropes in recycled plastic illuminated by LEDs; the equivalent of about 2 million plastic bottles was used to produce the ropes.

A natural climate mitigation system is used as an alternative system to air conditioning to cool buildings and urban environments in a sustainable way. Moreover, algae and coffee grounds, orange peels and sand are some of the innovative and recyclable materials used to build the pavilion.

Padiglione Italia Expo Dubai 2020

The Italian Pavilion: the panoramic view

Visitors enter the pavilion via an escalator that takes them 11 meters above the ground; from there, a vantage point allows them to see the entire pavilion. The visit continues on a suspended walkway. Among the main environments and installations to visit inside the building, we can mention the installation for Eni, entitled Braiding the Future. In a space dedicated to the theme of carbon dioxide biofixation, it recreates a microalgae cultivation using a cascade of 20-meter-high LED-lit lianas.

The Belvedere is a circular construction topped by a dome covered with wild Mediterranean plants, reminiscent of Italian Renaissance gardens. The microalga spirulina, cultivated by TOLO Green, enables the purification of the air through the biofixation of the carbon dioxide emitted by visitors.

Padiglione Italia Expo Dubai 2020

Other must-see installations are the Innovation Space, dedicated to technological research; the Second Sun and Second Moon digital installations realized by Enel X, which create luminous effects thanks to the interaction with the emotions of the visitors; the Theatre of Memory, where there is a 3D printed copy of Michelangelo’s David, realized by the Galleria dell’Accademia of Florence and the Ministry for Cultural Heritage and Activities, in collaboration with the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of the University of Florence. Lastly, the ground floor of the pavilion hosts the Solar Coffee Garden, the cafeteria designed by CRA and Italo Rota for Lavazza. [Txt: Arianna Callocchia/Ph: Padiglione Italia, Expo 2020 Dubai, CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati and Italo Rota Building Office – ph: Michele Nastasi]

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