The Italian Pavilion showcases Italy’s excellence, and, in particular, the country’s food and culinary culture and traditions that are typified by their consistent high-quality, from the ingredients to the end products. The exhibition entitled Identità Italiana (Italian Identity) is the key display in the pavilion, and it is dedicated to the various parts of Italy that have taken part in this cultural and artistic project. It tells the story of the four so-called Italian Powers, with the help of the country’s 21 Regions and Autonomous Provinces.
The concept behind Palazzo Italia is that of an “urban forest”. Its branch-like “skin”, designed by Studio Nemesi as the building's external shell, evokes a sensation of both primitive and hi-tech life experiences. The interweaving of its geometrical lines is reminiscent of the random pattern of branches and the continual play of light and shadow, solid and void generates a sculpture-like building with clear land-art influences. The basic architectural idea for Palazzo Italia is a concept of cohesion in which the force of attraction generates a rediscovered sense of community and belonging. The internal piazza represents the community’s energy. This space – the symbolic heart of the complex – is where the exhibition experience begins, right in the middle of the four sections that make up the pavilion. Together, these four blocks form a kind of cityscape, while retaining their own individual character and purpose, and including: an Exhibition zone (West block), an Auditorium and Events zone (South block), an Office zone (North block) and a Conference and Meeting zone (East block).
These blocks are symbols of giant trees with massive bases that simulate roots plunging into the earth. Seen from the internal piazza, these trunks open and then stretch upwards, finally breaking free, like foliage, through the huge, glass canopy. The rich weave of branches that forms the outer shell highlights the Palazzo's sculpted forms. The lighting project, also designed by the Nemesi Studio, seeks to bring light and architecture together by highlighting the building's character and features in a way that is completely natural. The general illumination system creates even, comfortable and inviting lighting throughout the structure with recessed, DALI dimmable, warm colour temperature Laser Blade luminaires. These products, which are concealed in the structure's false ceilings, offer high performance levels with no glare. In line with the architectural features of the offices (that are elongated, longitudinal spaces) long, rectangular recessed iN 30 and iN 60 luminaires have been installed that create an ideal level of lighting for desks and work stations. For the corridors, which are the most highly frequented areas in the pavilion, pendant-mounted Le Perroquet and Tecnica Pro luminaires have been used, while Underscore ledstrips highlight the banisters and niches.
The auditorium, also known as “the egg” is a space built completely in wood with a dark false ceiling. Laser Blade luminaires have been recessed in the ventilation ducts to ensure that they are completely concealed, and dimmable versions have been used to ensure that the light suits the space available perfectly, and is user-friendly too. For the outdoor lighting of Palazzo Italia, whose facades are completely constructed in white cement, a lighting project has been designed by Enel Sole that features MultiWoody luminaires fitted with DALI COB LED small body MaxiWoody spotlights. With their neutral white colour temperature these intensify the pure white of the material and enhance the texture and surface of the walls. The supports have also been used for the functional lighting of the Cardo which features Archilede HP luminaires. The entire system created by Enel Sole, is managed by a control system with DALI technology. To vertically light-wash the outer surface of the pavilion, recessed Linealuce luminaires (known for their superior vertical lighting performance) have also been positioned at the feet of every "root" base.
The products used all feature LEDs with warm colour temperatures for the interiors and cold ones for the exteriors. This solution was chosen for the superior performance of these lamps which boast both long life and low maintenance costs. Palazzo Italia will remain in situ after the Expo fair finishes, so it is important that the lighting system is both long-lasting and highly efficient: two qualities that characterise all iGuzzini products.