The World Expo is ground zero for spectacular architecture, but Italy's mesmerizing pavilion in the Milan Expo 2015 is much more than just architectural flamboyance. The Palazzo Italia actually consumes smog and takes pollution out of the air through its incredibly engineered biodynamic skin.
The cladding of the white sinuous building is both highly innovative and sustainable. The 9,000-square-meter façade was realized with 900 biodynamic concrete panels developed by Italcementi. Its TX Active technology captures air pollution when the envelope material comes into contact with light, which it then transforms into inert salts, reducing smog levels in the environment. Each exterior panel of Palazzo Italia, produced with Styl-Comp technology, is unique, and the building itself is net-zero energy, which means thanks to the design team’s extensive use of photovoltaic glass and photocatalytic concrete cladding, the structure is capable of covering its energy needs autonomously.
The content of the pavilion is no less commendable. Almost 13,000-square-meters in sum, the six floors and numerous rooms of Palazzo Italia are fully packed with so-called “Italian Powers”, spatial chapters dedicated to images, opinions and testimonials about Italy’s past, present and future. Of these, one special space leaves an indelible impression. A three-room section entitled “The Power of Beauty” literally drugs its visitors with positive vibes, pulling them all into a surreal world of Italian best places. This atmosphere is designed as a sequence of three halls filled with dynamic digital projections on mirrored walls, ceilings and floors, and accompanied by vibrant rhythms. One literally loses him- or herself within images endlessly reflected in every direction, depicting breathtaking mountain views, spectacular seascapes, magnificent architectural masterpieces and splendid interior decorations.
Energetic, colorful and unforgettable, Palazzo Italia awakes one’s wanderlust, evoking a desire to explore every single centimeter of this small yet culturally rich Mediterranean state. While Palazzo Italia has already won hearts of Expo guests, once the Expo is over, it will be converted into a center for technological innovation for the city of Milan. Fortunately the memorable fluid designs and innovative solutions will not be lost, but will comprise the first step toward Italy’s new sustainable conquest.
photos by Maria Novozhilova for Inhabitat.com