Retail Pavilions at Expo 2015

Coin Group, an Italian retail conglomerate, was given lots N2 and N3 within the Expo 2015 area near Milan. Each lot was to receive a pavilion for one of the group brands: OVS and Excelsior. We decided to combine the two lots to increase the building surface to 522 square meters (14.5*36m). The project of the stores Excelsior and OVS consists of two semi-identical “L” rotated by 180° and placed next to each other, almost interlocking. Since the built project had to be delivered within three months from its conception, the design strategy was dictated by ease and speed of construction. Designing two almost identical steel structures allowed to optimize the building process within a very tight timeframe.

The two buildings generate a small enclosed system: they do not look at the surroundings as the openings only face each other. The height of each building vary with a continuous gradient from 7 to 5 meters along the whole external façade, giving a dynamic and unusual geometry to the volumes. Between the buildings a narrow open corridor is filled with bamboo plants and provides both lighting and filtering: a “calle” of light, green and glass which can only be seen from inside the system. The façades are cladded with three-dimensional metal plates which interlocks as a puzzle: the OVS store is covered by brushed aluminum sheets, while the Excelsior store is covered by etched corten. The different materials, the different material finishes and the three-dimensional design makes the façade react and change continuously to the daylight.

The exterior space between the pavilions and the Decumanus, called “campiello OVS” (small square), is partially planted with flowers and partially paved. We designed the outdoor furniture to allow visitors to rest as well as the stores to self-promote. The project through its compositional elements, the “calle” and the “campiello” aims to recall the origins and roots of the Coin Group within Venice. The inner nature of an Expo, transitoriness and reuse, has led us to design a structure that uses only dry construction systems and that can be completely recycled. By dismantling, moving and rebuilding the structures we will provide a nursery school for the Coin Group.

Developed as part of a small team at Zito+Pedron Architects.

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