The Vanke pavilion explores key issues related to the Expo Milano 2015 theme, "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life".
The concept of the Vanke pavilion incorporates three ideas drawn from Chinese food culture: the shi-tang, a traditional Chinese dining room; the landscape: the fundamental element of life; and the dragon, which is metaphorically linked to agriculture and subsistence. These three concepts are incorporated into the exhibition, architecture and programme of the Vanke pavilion.
Located on the southeastern edge of Lake Arena, the 800 m2 pavilion appears to rise eastward, forming a dynamic, vertical landscape. The design defines a sinuous geometric pattern that flows between the interior and exterior.
A grand staircase, clad in grey concrete, surrounded by a red serpentine shape guides visitors to the upper level.
An observation roof terrace with a planted garden offers a breathtaking view of the lake and the nearby Italian pavilion.
The pavilion is covered with more than 4,000 red metallic tiles that Libeskind designed with the Italian company Casalgrande Padana.
The geometric ceramic panels not only create an expressive pattern that is evocative of a dragon's skin, but also have self-cleaning and air-purifying properties.
The three-dimensional surface is covered with a metallic colouring that changes depending on the viewpoint and the position of the sun. Sometimes it will appear a deep purple, then a dazzling gold, and even, at certain angles, a brilliant white. The tiles are installed using a support system that gives a mathematical pattern, a flexible twisted shape.
Two spiral staircases, echoing this shape, are arranged to the south and north of the pavilion, serving both as visitor circulation and as seating.
Inside the pavilion, visitors encounter an exhibition space filled with a constellation of 200 screens mounted on bamboo scaffolding.
The forest of "bamboo screens" floats above a winding, reflective pool that lines the visitor's path.
The screens present images and scenes from the daily life of the Chinese.