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When in China, Romans play like the Chinese

2009. 18 December

( Italy's 2010 Expo pavilion resembles both the Chinese game of pick-up sticks and a small Italian city, depending on your perspective.

From a bird's-eye perspective, the structure spills a tangle of intersecting lines in mimicry of the game that has competitors remove sticks from a pile without causing its collapse.
From ground level, it replicates an Italian city set on a 7,800-sq-m plot of land.

Under the banner "Man of City", the pavilion will comprise 20 sections representing various Italian regions. Shanghai elements will also be incorporated.

"When people enter the pavilion, they will feel like they are walking into a city that combines Shanghai's shikumen households with an Italian square," said Benjamino Quintieri, Italy's commissioner general for the Shanghai Expo.

Though its Roman past can still be strongly felt, Italy will focus on its modern achievements in the worlds of fashion and technology, said Dario Rota, director of the pavilion.

"We will not only bring fashion, luxury and Ferrari to the Shanghai Expo, but also technology and innovation, which has made our city and lives better," said Rota.

In fact, the pavilion will speak volumes about the wave of innovative ideas pouring out of the country, added Rota. Some 40 percent of the pavilion's outer layer is made of a special type of cement created by Italians. Known colloquially as transparent cement, it is designed to absorb the heat of the sun to give visitors the feeling of being under its rays.

Meanwhile, glass surfaces will harness a special energy saving capability. They are made from photovoltaic fibers which transform sunlight into power, thus reducing energy consumption.

Designed to accommodate up to 4,000 visitors per hour, the pavilion is made exclusively from Italian products, added Rota.