Founded in 1984, Vanke is the largest Chinese real estate company listed on the Shenzhen Stock Exchange. The giant has decided to participate at Expo Milano 2015 in order to offer the world a showpiece of contemporary life in China, from the perspective of ordinary people, through the experience and spirit of the Shitang. Covering a surface of 959m 2 , the Vanke Pavilion is located in the northern section of the fair's main thoroughfare, the Decumano or World Avenue, near the Arena Lake and Piazza Italia. For the design of the Vanke Pavilion, Daniel Libeskind and the Libeskind Studio found inspiration in a range of concepts, from the ancient thinking of Confucius and Lao Tzu, to Renaissance and contemporary art. Architecturally, the pavilion's sinuous geometry and continuous inside-outside flow take the visitor on a journey through space, time, traditions, values and human relationships. It is a unique space that celebrates and reflects on the history of civilization, technology, and the 21st century.
The exhibition is organized into two independent routes, one from the inside towards the outside, and the other with a garden that is found on the roof. Its features include an installation of a forest of poles with screens showing scenes of people enjoying meals, having fun, and sharing. This concept is based on the metaphor of roots, trunks and branches which symbolize Vanke’s commitment to the community, as experienced through the mutual relationships of people, values and traditions. The shape of the pavilion is based on China's sacred mountain, Huan Shan. The American architect has created a stylised reproduction of its shape with a structure covered by 4,200 red tiles that change colour according to the light. The visual effect is a roof that looks rather like the scales of a snake, crossed by a staircase that runs round the pavilion allowing visitors to pass easily from one part of the structure to another. The building is eco-sustainable and includes a 180 m 2 water basin with a special walkway running over it to express China's food culture. The lighting project that has also been designed by the Libeskind Studio, plays a fundamental role in the pavilion's impact as it succeeds in making the structure seem bigger.
The interior area consists of a ground floor with a very dark exhibition room that is laid out like a museum. On the first floor, there is a reception room with lighting equipped with a control system that allows the light to be adjusted to suit requirements and special events. In the same area there is also a huge lantern that filters natural light during the day and is covered by a dark curtain by night. The outdoor lighting system has been created by installing five poles around the perimeter of the pavilion each of which are fitted with MaxiWoody floodlights. For the stairway and roofs, Underscore ledstrips have been chosen as a highly elegant, suffused form of lighting was required that would blend in with the surrounding space. This was a deliberately move as Vanke wished to help preserve the spectacular and magical atmosphere that the EXPO exhibition site creates at night, without over-exaggerating its own presence.
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