Milan Expo Pavilion Competition, Milano, Italy, 2014

This project was done in collaboration with Arch. Francesca Vecchia, as part of an international competition to design an information pavilion for the Milan Expo at Rho.

Plant cells and seed structures were the inspirational force behind the design of this pavilion, which is in direct response to the Milan Universal Expo’s theme of ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. Plant stem cells serve as the origin of plant vitality and have the ability to self-renew and withstand harsh external influence and therefore preserve life. Cell structures are geometrically composed and provide the means to transport the products for photosynthesis, which in itself is a re-generative fuel system used by plants to make food from the sun’s energy. This is necessary for life on earth and are all appropriate means to our greater cause.

The overall shape and enclosing skin of the pavilion resembles a giant seed, which metaphorically enforces the notion of ‘generating life’ – the universal theme. Giant operable scales surround the outer skin, similar to a pinecone, who’s scales open-out to germinate. The pavilion’s scales are lined in photo-voltaic cells, which generate energy like photosynthesis and provide solar shading for visitors within the space. The structure itself is composed of interlaced bamboo sections, which is a highly sustainable material that creates a strong, yet flexible sub-frame over which are fixed clear EFTE panels. This system creates an interesting play of light at night, when the pavilion becomes like a beacon to draw attention from afar.