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EXPO 2015 CASALGRANDE PADANA
DRESSES UP VANKE PAVILION

© Huftonandcrow

is a date to be remembered for many people at Expo 2015. It is the day the first pavilion of the March 4th Universal Expo was officially delivered. The finishing line was hit by Chinese corporation Vanke, after 10 months working on a building site where the flag of the People’s Republic of China’s flies next to the Italian flag, rightly and proudly waved by Turin-based building contractor Bodino Engineering and Casalgrande Padana, which, with its futuristic stoneware casing, turned one of the most intricate architectural designs of Expo 2015 into reality.

The project, designed by Daniel Libeskind by exploring the standards of parametric architecture, covers a surface of 1000 square metres. It took over 140 tons of steel to make the backbone and about 4200 stoneware Fractile slabs, designed by the architect on an exclusive three-dimensional pattern, to make the building. The ceramic tiles were installed with an innovative system specially developed by the Engineering Division of Casalgrande Padana, which not only secures the slabs but can also angle or overlap them one by one to suit any design requirement. The result is a spectacular solution that opens unexplored territories in the area of ceramic casings. It’s no coincidence that the ruby red fractal body of Vanke pavilion has already turned into a veritable icon for the entire campus of Expo 2015.

But surprises are not limited to the outdoors. The pavilion actually houses a large area where a three- dimensional, loose-shaped bamboo frame (about 8000 metres of canes) leads through the exhibition trail, while acting as an ethereal prop for the 300 LCD screens installed in there to show visitors images, information and suggestions about the highlights of Chinese convivial traditions through Shitang (dining room), eating habits, everyday items, all critically viewed through the new behaviours brought in by globalisation.

Within this theatre, some special areas have been covered in 60x60 cm stoneware slabs, specially designed by Casalgrande Padana with a special surface finish that resembles Libeskind’s design on the shell. One further proof of the creative flexibility of ceramics and of Casalgrande Padana’s bent for interacting with architecture, making any design idea come true.