Written by Staff Writer
World Expo Milan 2018 will draw more than 40 million visitors this year, many of whom will visit one of the world’s largest multilingual pavilions, which are made with crowdsourcing projects, built by open-source software and then handmade by more than 350,000 volunteers.
One such installation — which features clean, sustainable materials made of synthetic resin and steel — was designed by the prominent architect Walter de Maria.
Described as “modern forest nautilus,” the pavilion is inspired by the garden spaces of the Italian countryside, said Marc Santoro, deputy exhibition director for the pavilion.
It’s made from two million plastic bottles.
Architect Walter de Maria, left, in his Milan pavilion. Credit: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
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“The corrugated plastic (serrated plastic sheets) formed the foundation for the pavilion as it is impossible to have a very high standard structure made of corrugated plastic because of its short span and difficult to assemble qualities,” he said.
“A sculptor, sculptor, architect, engineer and sculptor, Walter de Maria wanted to work to protect nature and the environment because the Corrugated plastic is a natural material and could make a very interesting art installation.”
Established in 2014 by the Italian government, the Expo has no political or financial affiliation.
Though the pavilion is located in a closed expo site, hundreds of thousands of visitors can freely roam within its actual design.
Thousands of volunteers are also encouraged to roam among the installations and art pieces that take up the 34-hectare pavilion.
Santoro says the project works well because the Expo’s ethos encourages an open source approach to pavilion design.
“The Forum includes a broad variety of people and we are always open to ideas, even new ideas that come with new ideas,” he said.
“There are a lot of examples of great designs with the same textiles but different materials, whereas the rules of the project are very clear,” Santoro added.
“The goal of this is to give the idea of ‘making’ a physical space based on open design and open spirit.”
10 million people are expected to visit the Expo Milan 2018 this year. Credit: NICOLAS ASFOURI/AFP/AFP/Getty Images
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In other World Expos, designs that were developed on an open-source basis have benefited from more support and resources, he says.
“There are examples of pavilions that have been developed by citizens or a group of people working together,” Santoro said.
“For example, the
Galleria Neoperiglione in Milan, in which 10,000 people are working to make it exactly the way they see it.”
In total, an estimated 2.3 million volunteers have joined Expo Milan’s activities over the last four years, according to the world expo’s website.
“It all started from the idea that you can have something significant done without having an official contract,” Santoro said.
The completion of the Expo Milano 2018 pavilion comes amid the centenary of the invention of the fluorescent tube.