Expo Gate| Azerbaijan: Treasure of Biodiversity

“300 people from different disciplines and cultures have contributed to designing this Pavilion; 18 months were needed to search and develop its contents, 250 videos were shot and over 5,000 photos were taken to document the life of these distant people, probably little known, but full of talent and curiosity”.

The person speaking is Daniele Zambelli, founder of Simmetrico, the Italian network specialized in designing and managing cultural projects that yesterday – Tuesday, 31st March – in the conference room at Expo Gate presented the Milanese public with the Pavilion of Azerbaijan, that will participate for the first time ever in a “Universal Exhibition”.

“More than a project this is a story”, specified Daniele Zambelli, “a tale about men and relations, an extraordinary journey through an equally extraordinary land, that I shared with studio Arassociati, with landscape architect Emanuele Bortolotti and structural designers from iDeas.

This concept is the result of a multidisciplinary work, the result of a collective will to tell a story to explore a country, Azerbaijan, which is depicted as a crossroads of flows, meetings and relations. A place rich of very different landscapes and age-old cultures”.

This Pavilion celebrates its biodiversity (here there are nine out of the eleven climates that you can find in the whole world) opening to the outside world while simultaneously protecting its diversity.

“That’s why we have chosen the biosphere as an icon for the project, an open system that interacts and establishes contacts, but at the same time it protects and promotes inner life”, explained Michele Tadini from Arassociati, who took part in the meeting organized by Interni with Marco Brandolisio (the Milanese team, operational since 1997, also includes Giovanni Da Pozzo and Massimo Scheurer). Based on this fundamental idea, the Pavilion was designed around three spheres that are embedded as jewels in the general structure of the building, wrapped in a “skin” made of soft and sinuous chipwood.

“But for us this project was also a further occasion to experiment” concluded Marco Brandolisio. The large spheres – 1,200 sq. m. of curved glass – are not only the result of a search for a strong architectural idea. They also express “the will to explore an innovative and sustainable construction technology in order to guarantee quick mounting and dismounting operations and therefore make it possible to reuse the Pavilion when the Expo adventure is over”. Its future destination? Back home, to Azerbaijan, of course.

(Laura Ragazzola)