Studio Libeskind, “Vanke Pavilion”, 2015 Milan Expo
The Vanke Pavilion is an exhibition hall and event space, designed by Daniel Libeskind’s architectural studio, that was built for 2015 Milan Expo. Its design, based on the theme of the event, “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” draws inspiration from ancient Chinese dragons which, legend has it, wielded power over weather and agriculture in early China.
The twisting exterior is clad in over 4,000 faceted porcelain tiles, resembling the scales of a gargantuan reptile. Each is embossed with a geometric motif and treated with a custom metallic glaze. This reflective coating causes the pavilion take on a fiery glow that shifts from red to gold depending on the angle of the sun. Ingeniously, the glaze also contains titanium dioxide which, when exposed to direct sunlight, breaks down organic deposits in the atmosphere, purifying the air around the pavilion.