China Vanke unveils Milan Expo pavilion
China's largest real estate developer Vanke this week presented plans in Milan for its Expo 2015 pavilion, designed by star architect Daniel Libeskind. Vanke's participation in the food-themed world fair marks the first time in the 163 years of Universal Exposition history that a Chinese company has put on a pavilion of its own.
For the structure of the pavilion, Libeskind was inspired by currents of thought ranging from Confucius to Lao Tzu, from the Italian Renaissance to contemporary art.
Sinuous geometry and a sense of continuity flow between the interior and the exterior accompany visitors on a voyage across space, time, tradition, values and human relations. A sketch shows a structure resembling a traditional Chinese drawing of a nature scene, with dynamic rock-like and organic looking formations. The Polish-American architect, known for high profile projects including the master plan for the reconstruction of the World Trade Center in New York City, has been called "deconstructivist" by critics, a movement characterized by the manipulation of a structure's surface, non-rectilinear shapes, and the apparent distortion or dislocation of architectural elements. The inside of Vanke's pavilion will be sinuous, turn upon itself and give life to an exhibit of a "virtual forest" of 300 screens unevenly suspended projecting short films that capture the role of Shitang, or dining halls, in the daily life of communities throughout China. "The participation of Vanke China at Milan Expo 2015 is particularly significant for the theme of its fascinating pavilion - the importance of food as a socialization factor in accordance with the traditions and culture of each country for the development of urban realities that are increasingly international, sustainable and human scale," said Milan Mayor Giuliano Pisapia. The exhibition itself is created by the world's largest museum exhibition design firm, Ralph Appelbaum Associates.
It focuses on how China's rapid, daily urbanization tends to make people feel increasingly alone and isolated, and on Vanke's commitment to promote a traditional place dedicated to communication, interaction and fun. The pavilion will also contain elements representative of Chinese food culture like a popular cookbook, tea cups, plates and chopsticks. Chinese designer Han Jiaying has applied the gestural graphic art of Chinese calligraphy - black ink on white background - to the designs to give them a contemporary identity and look. The 1000 sq m pavilion will be located in the northern part of Expo's main axis, called Decumano, near Lake Arena and Piazza Italia on the 100-hectare Expo site near the massive Rho Pero fairgrounds.
Theme of Milan Expo 2015, which takes place from May 1 to October 31 next year, is "Feeding the planet. Energy for life", tackling issues such as food security, hunger, and promoting environmentally, socially, economically sustainable global food production practices.
So far 144 countries - representing 94% of the world's population - and three international organizations are set to put their best on show.
Vanke is listed on the Shenzen bourse and had a turnover in March 2014 of 2.3 billion dollars. Vanke provides more than a half million homes and supplies management services to 1.5 million Chinese people.