Daniel Libeskind presents the Vanke Pavilion and Siemens Sculptures
A meeting with Daniel Libeskind, in charge of two projects for Expo: the sculptures that mark the four corners where the Cardo and Decumano axes intersect and, not far away, the Vanke corporate pavilion. Two micro experimental projects, for the author of – among other things – the Jewish Museum in Berlin with its Holocaust Tower that “listens to the stones, is inspired by light and sound”.
From the Shitang to the Wings: because the intense concepts and emotions of his architectures are connected , in the case of his Vanke Pavilion, a sculpture-like building without fronts or backs, to the rite of the dining hall (shitang), very important for the Chinese in terms of symbolic food sharing; and, in that of the Wings, to the theme of the urban project: these four sculptural and dynamic propellers, 10 meters tall and wide, weighing 14 tons, with a brushed aluminium skin, are markers that define the four corners of the square as a meeting and communal place.
Characterized by a high level of special effects, they feature thousands of LED lights and are somehow interactive in terms of sound. The spiral shaped pavilion for the giant Chinese real estate developer Vanke, overlooking the Expo lake, is conceptually reminiscent of the social value of being and eating together. But not just that.
The complex curves of its vertical and public architectural landscape that can be climbed up to the equipped balcony, “like a seed that develops upwards from the earth” imply the idea of “organic nature inspired by the alchemy of paintings, landscapes, the figures of Chinese mythology, a nature included in their innovative bird’s eye views”.
This sophisticated building has been traditionally conceived since “Design comes from the mind and not through a PC, though each part has been assembled in a complex way, with 21st-century technologies”. Inside, exhibition spaces in wood and bamboo and plasma screens.
Outside, an expressive skin which changes colours during the day, made with a special three-dimensional tile that contains titanium: “it was developed by Casalgrande Padana, it turns carbon dioxide into oxygen, it cleans itself. More than 4000 tiles have been used to clad the metal structure of the building. After the Expo they will be given in China as gifts”.
After the event “the four wing shaped sculptures can be relocated to four places in the world; one almost certainly Munich, the city of Siemens, installation sponsor. Sustainability is measured also by this, by the size of the projects linked to the theme. Expo is no longer the chief cause of frenzy mentioned by Gustave Flaubert in his dictionary of accepted ideas”.