Poland is one of the world's largest exporter of apples, but what happens to all those crates when the harvest is done? Well, the Warsaw office of 2pm studio decided to use hundreds of recycled apple crates to build the Polish Pavilion at the Milan Expo 2015. Its exceptional façade is a great example of a humble and straightforward yet highly appealing design. But there's more to this pavilion than initially meets the eye.
Built on a rectangular plot of 2,370 square meters, the Polish boxed building is the 2015 Expo’s fourth biggest pavilion. Its humble but evocative patterned exterior is a good magnet for visitors to explore Poland’s latest achievements in the agri-food sector, considered to be the country’s specialty.
But why apple crates? As one can easily learn, Poland is the European leader in apple production and the third greatest apple producer worldwide. The wooden packaging boxes commonly used for fruits and vegetables, and showcased here directly as the building cladding, references Poland’s achievements and records in the fruit’s production, safety and quality.
Besides the striking wooden facade, the pavilion offers an extraordinary interior experience too. Visitors, brought directly to the roof level through a tall and narrow entrance aperture, end up in an unforeseen bucolic open air orchard inspired by Mehoffer’s painting “Weird Garden”. Surrounded by mirrors on all four sides, this lush green plot appears visibly infinite. In this creative way the Warsaw architects have triggered associations with Polish agriculture, showcased a characteristic Polish landscape, and, at the same moment, reveals the country’s attitude toward sustainability issues, organic farming, food processing, biotechnology and environmental protection.
After the symbolic secret garden, visitors are led through a sequence of edifying rooms, a narrative on Poland’s food heritage. The 1,400 sq.m of exhibition space includes halls with multimedia installations, interactive playgrounds, a cinema, a shop and a restaurant.
This is the sixth time Poland is participating in a Universal Exposition. And since 2000, the country really counts among the most significant and attractive Expo participants, above all thanks to the original design and architectural and construction technology. Indeed, Poland brings home stellar statistics on the pavilion’s attendance, good appreciation ratings and numerous awards. So let’s see if this year’s Polish pavilion, with its rustic architectural concept selected from the 59 competition entries, will see an rise in visitors and gain more international recognition. So far, it’s doing really well.
Images via Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat