Palazzo Italia


A biodynamic cement for Palazzo Italia―an architectural design by Nemesi & Partners―is the innovative solution developed by Italcementi for the symbolic heart of the Italian Pavilion at Expo 2015.

m2 outdoor surface area
900 plane and curved panels
600 frameworks and 300 different corner frameworks, all different one another
4 x 4.2 m typical size of each panel
10,560 hours of research dedicated to the project
15 researchers involved in developing the new product
2,000 tons of biodynamic cement used

Nemesis & Partners is a leading integrated service-oriented architecture firm led by Michele Molè, Creative Director, and Susanna Tradati, Associate Partner. Nemesis’ architecture comes from a deep and continuous research in contemporary expressive idioms combined with a careful study of the environmental, cultural, social and economic surrounding context. Complex asymmetrical geometries, alternation of light and shadow, solids and voids, contrasting shapes, spacious and functional interiors are all hallmarks of Nemesis architecture. An architecture expressed in exclusive projects, featuring sophisticated shapes and coherent precise style, characterized by technological innovation and a sustainable approach to implementation. With over 15 years of professional experience, Nemesis designed masterplan, offices, residences, infrastructure, cultural centers and leisure spaces, public building, urban transformation areas, thus becoming a reference in the panorama of contemporary Italian architecture.

An ambitious project leading Italian companies have been called on to design and build an extraordinary structure destined to become the icon of the 2015 Universal Exposition.
The Italian Pavilion, designed by Nemesi & Partners, envisages the construction of a complex structure whose exterior and some interior spaces recall the branches of a thick forest. The entire outer surface and part of the interiors will consist of BIODYNAMICcement panels, obtained using Styl-Comp technology from the new material developed at i.lab, the heart of Italcementi’s research and innovation.
The product’s name is a summary of its innovative characteristics. The “bio” component is given by the product’s photocatalytic properties, originating from the active ingredient TX Active, patented by Italcementi. The “dynamic” component is a specific characteristic of the new material, whose particular fluidity allows the creation of complex shapes like those found in the Palazzo Italia panels.
The 2015 Universal Exposition is a great opportunity for a general relaunch of Italy; it will be an occasion for our Country to showcase its excellence in a vast array of fields, from manufacturing to technology and science”said Diana Bracco, President of Expo 2015 and Commissioner for the Italian Pavilion.“Our Pavilion, inspired by Marco Balich concepts Vivaio Italia (Tree Nursery Italy) and Albero della Vita (Tree of Life), will be a window on the past, the present and the future of Italy. We want the Italian Pavilion to be an opportunity to showcase the innovation capabilities of our companies and to promote the development of sustainable products and eco-compatible technologies. An emblematic example of this will be Palazzo Italia, conceived as a landscape-like architecture where the building, through its structure and volume, takes on the appearance of a tree-forest into which visitors can plunge for a thrilling experience. Palazzo Italia will be the heart of the entire exhibition site, and the whiteness of its biodynamic cement branches will remain in the future as the icon of the 2015 Universal Exposition».
Italcementi, which already developed the transparent cement solution for the Italian Pavilion at the Shanghai Expo 2010, immediately seized this new challenge, relying on its 150 years experience in the world of construction materials. «From the silver medal at the 1867 Universal Exposition in Paris, through the international success of the Italian Pavilion, symbol of the Shanghai Expo 2010, to the new biodynamic cement that will characterize Palazzo Italia at the Milan Expo 2015: Italcementi is once again a key player in a Universal Exposition thanks to its innovative products,“ said Carlo Pesenti, Italcementi CEO.
The Italian Pavilion has been conceived as a place to protect and cultivate young talents, new energies, and diverse cultures, to set an objective for our work,” says Marco Balich, artistic director of the Italian Pavilion,“The objective is hope and confidence in our abilities and in our future as human beings and as Italians.
“Our concept for the Italian Pavilion takes inspiration from an urban forest,” explained architect Michele Molè from Nemesi & Partners, author of the architectural design of the Italian Pavilion. The volumetric complexity of Palazzo Italia is based on four main blocks organized around a central plaza and connected to each other by bridge elements. Inside these blocks are organized the main macro-functions: Exhibition Area, Auditorium, Offices and Conference Rooms. Just like trees, the four architectural volumes rest on massive supports simulating the huge “roots” of the exhibition pathway on the ground floor; these same volumes, viewed from the central plaza, expand and widen upwards, loosening their light “foliage” across glass surfaces, stretching out their “branches” and dynamically weaving a web that reaches up to the great roof terrace.

Client: Expo 2015 SpA
Location: Rho Fiera Milano District, Via Cristina Belgioioso – 20157 Milan, Italy
Architectural design: Nemesi & Partners Srl
Plant engineering project/Structural project/Engineering: Proger SpA/BMS progetti Srl
Energy Sustainability: Professor Livio De Santoli
Site characteristics: Palazzo Italia looks like a landscape-architecture, where the building, by means of its structural and volumetric articulation, takes on the appearance of a tree-forest, where visitors may immerse themselves and enjoy an emotional experience.
Program: Symbol of the Italian Pavilion for 2015 Milan EXPO
Site dimension: L 57,5 m x L 57,5 m x H 25 m
Total floor area: 13,275 m2
Exhibition area: 2,500 m2
Events area: 1,920 m2
Representative area: 2,350 m2
Food service area: 1,050 m2
Construction details: The volumetric building system produces a dynamic and interactive architecture, capable of exchanging energy with the outside world. The tree-forest concept actually takes shape also, and more importantly, from the development of technological, engineering and energy solutions making the building an environmental osmotic organism, interacting and exchanging energy through multiple systems like the photovoltaic glass foliage-canopy structure. It is arranged in an innovative geometric pattern favoring soft lines and curves, which captures solar energy and contributes to the microclimate of the square below. Palazzo Italia is in its way a “Natural Architecture”, combining poetic design and technological experimentation in a spectacular and energy sustainable body.
Construction system: Palazzo Italia is organized into four blocks, real urban scenes defining the great space of the central square, a place and a symbol of community and welcome. The building will host exhibition areas, offices, institutional and event spaces. The exhibition path runs through the entire building, accompanying visitors to gradually discover its different angles and textures.
  The exhibition path will be a real experiential discovery journey within the tree-building, which digs its roots into the ground and frees its branches and foliage into the sky, massive at its base but delicately light at its upper parts. The visitor will pass through all four levels of the exhibition area, to reach the rooftop terrace, and come back down to the central square through a new and different path.
Materials: The entire outdoor surface and part of the interiors will consist of BIODYNAMIC cement panels, obtained using Styl-Comp technology from the new material developed at i.lab, the heart of Italcementi’s research and innovation. The product’s name is a summary of its innovative performance features. The “bio” component is given by the product’s photocatalytic properties, originating from the active principle TX Active, patented by Italcementi. In direct sunlight, the active principle contained in the material “captures” certain pollutants present in the air and converts them into inert salts, helping to purify the atmosphere from smog. Additionally, the mortar is made from 80% recycled aggregates, part of which consist of scraps from the cutting of Carrara marble, and therefore provide a superior brilliance compared to traditional white cements. The “dynamic” component is a specific characteristic of the new material, whose particular fluidity allows the creation of complex shapes like those found in the Palazzo Italia panels. Thanks to its high workability, BIODYNAMIC is able to penetrate in the frameworks, designed one by one and manufactured by Styl-Comp, and forms the final design of the panel, ensuring an extraordinary surface quality.
The new material also features outstanding workability and resistance compared to classic mortars. Its initial fluidity is three times greater (300 mm vs. 100 mm); it is twice as resistant to compression (over 60 MPa compared to 30 MPa of classic mortars) and twice as resistant to flexion (over 10 MPa against 5MPa of classic mortars).
Project: 2013
Start of works: January 2014
End of works: March 2015


Michele Molè Nemesi Studio Press kit Italcementi Expo 2015 Wired-UK




VIDEOS “The Secrets of Palazzo Italia”

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