The Vanke Pavilion unveiled
at Expo 2015 in Milan

© Huftonandcrow

Casalgrande Padana has taken part in the Expo 2015 opening ceremony in Milan, where the pavilion of Chinese giant Vanke was presented among the others. The Vanke Pavilion is clad with Casalgrande Padana slabs.

Today, through a proper planning of the entry procedure, the work stands up, almost finished, on its allotment, in a strategic location, not far from Lake Arena and Palazzo Italia.

The cladding slabs, designed by Daniel Libeskind, are by Casalgrande Padana
Casalgrande Padana has taken part in the Expo 2015 opening ceremony in Milan on the first of May, where the pavilion of Chinese giant Vanke was presented among the others. A special event in which Daniel Libeskind, the mind behind the Vanke Pavilion project, also took part. The pavilion dons a Fractile slab cladding by Casalgrande Padana.

The 2015 Universal Exposition was inaugurated in Milan on 1 May, Labour Day. This edition’s theme, “Feeding the planet”, has not prevented major international non-food companies from taking their place in this world event alongside the pavilions rich in typical food from all over the world.

Vanke, the Chinese residential real estate giant, was only one of the many companies at Expo 2015 in Milan. A great company, for which a great architect, Daniel Libeskind, has created a pavilion inspired by China’s tradition, philosophy, and history dotted with “misty mountains, rivers, hills, and sinuous dragons” to use Mr Libeskind’s words.
Alongside Vanke and Daniel Libeskind, a third element has made it possible to create such a cutting-edge structure with an undeniable visual impact. We are referring to Casalgrande Padana’s Fractile porcelain stoneware slabs. These slabs, designed by Libeskind, feature a three-dimensional red décor, which provides a metallic effect.

The special features of the over 4200 slabs – manufactured in a 60x120 size and then cut into two 60x60 units – do not end here. In fact, these slabs have a three-dimensional fractal pattern and are the result of a sophisticated industrial procedure, which includes glazing and firing processes at 1250 °C, using carefully selected mixtures of clays, quartz and feldspar. Oxide saturated metallic glazes provide the ceramic surface with a dynamic colour-changing effect. The special colour was developed specifically for this project in the Casalgrande Padana colourimeter laboratory.

Casalgrande Padana’s work has been instrumental in the completion of the Vanke Pavilion within the set deadlines (it was the first pavilion to be handed to Expo, three months before the opening date). A majestic operation, especially considering the complexity of the processes involved. After completing the frame and installing the steel bracing struts, the horizontal corrugated sheet metal elements were fitted in, and the insulating core of the casing, made with mineralised wood fibre panels, was secured in place. Finally, a layer of shotcrete was applied on top of the support reinforcement.

The entire volume of the Vanke Pavilion (which stands out for its unusual shape) enables the installation of a metal substructure for anchoring the ceramic cladding developed by the collaboration between Daniel Libeskind and the Casalgrande Padana Engineering Division. This installation system emphasises the disruption of the traditional coplanar surfaces through the partial juxtaposition of the evocative lacquer red Fractile three-dimensional porcelain stoneware tiles.