If a three dimensional model of the hilly upland of France would be turned upside down from the base, the form of the France Pavilion from X-TU for Expo Milano 2015 would be obtained. . We have written about the pavilion before it was built, but the final result is beyond expectations.
Designed by X-TU, it is rich in its representation of the country, while depicting the theme of the Expo as well- ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’. The aim of the Expo is to resolve how the world will be fed today and tomorrow. The pavilion has been built as a French food market that relives Les Halles, the central fresh food market of Paris- a glorious affair that lasted for 800 years before being demolished in 1971. However, the concept of the market of old was to sell the food produced at different locations. The French pavilion embodies a sustainable concept that the market will be a place where the food is produced as well as consumed.
The ground floor is the place for exhibits and the market, the terrace is for consumption through a restaurant. The concept of simultaneous production and consumption has been supported with the idea of vegetation growing through the façade, the harvest of which will be celebrated with a festival at the end of the Expo.
The beauty and majesty of the pavilion lies in its materiality. Digitally cut wooden beams seem to flow to create the organic shape of the façade. A latticed structure within recreates the undulating upside-down form of the hills of France. The undulated form within naturally creates appropriate spaces for exhibits. Despite being made entirely of wood, the structure seems light and penetrable. The beams are arranged in clean lines, spaced apart and their assembly is almost invisible, deceiving the eye, and revealing France’s immaculate expertise in timber construction.
The pavilion reflects sustainability not only in its concept, but also in its structure, as the timber used is actually glulaminated beams made of reclaimed wood from local areas and will be reused after the structure will be dismantled.
By: Sahiba Gulati
Award: First Prize
Project Leader: Mathias Lukacs
Collaborating Architect: Atelien Architecture
Companies: C.M.C di Ravenna, Simonin
Scenographer: STUDIO ADELINE RISPAL
Lighting Designer: LICHT KUNST LICHT
Research Office: OASIIS, Grontmij
Landscape Gardener: BASE
Acoustic Specialist: Viasonora
Kitchen Designer: BECP
Graphic Designer: Chevalvert
Cultural Engineering: Lordculture
Production: Les Films d’Ici