Berlin-based architecture firm StudioBaft teamed up with Tactile Architecture and architect Laurent Dubuis to design a prefab barcode-like proposal for the info pavilion at the 2015 Milan Expo. The team took the main topic of the Expo—focused on sustainable food production—and translated it into a three-dimensional configuration made up of prefab panels that represent all 144 exhibiting countries.
The info pavilion is a space of interchange. It marries the multiplicity embodied in the design of the Expo site and the organization of “cascinas”-traditional rural farmhouses that dominate the region of Lombardy. Information on food production from all 144 participating countries are embedded into the panels organized around a looped promenade.
Geometrically, the 144 varying sections mirror each country’s percentage of arable land (width) and its distance to Milan (height). ‘Thin countries’, owning little arable land, create intricate niches that trigger a spatial awareness of their role in the global agricultural production. This way, visitors receive visual and spatial information on the global food production and the countries’ potential to produce natural foods. The prefab panels were designed with the idea of their future re-use.
The internal courtyard of the structure was designed as a quiet environment that acts as a counterpart to the “busy” external layer whose walls are fed by real-time data streaming in. A sea of artificial reeds glowing at night create an impression of being in a wheat field. This field acts as a space of silence and provides experiential knowledge rather than one based on information.