Unveiled: the French Pavilion for Milan Expo 2015

A wooden structure of crossed sections, internally shaped by turning upside-down a section of the French territory.

by Roberto Ercolani
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Expo 2015 begins to move its first steps into the built world.
After the beginning of the construction of the German pavilion, two weeks ago, the French Pavilion for Expo Milano 2015 was officially presented on Tuesday, 15th April 2014, at the Petit Palais in Paris.



It's a 3,600sqm building, that will be distributed over two floors along with a roof terrace that will overlook the surroundings. The pavilion will be located near the Italian one and will have a covered space of about 2,000 sqm.

It can also be considered as symbol of the collaboration between Italy and France, as the project is by the French X-TU Studio (Anouk Legendre, Nicola Desmazière and Alix Afferni), it will be built by the Italian construction company CMC (Cooperativa muratori e cementisti di Ravenna) and the wood will be supplied by Simonin, a French company specialized in wooden construction elements.

The wooden structure of the pavillion is in complete accordance with the sustainability principles that are at the basis of all the Expo site projects, as it can be assembled and then disassembled once the Expo is over. The wooden sections will arrive from the region of the Jura, where Simonin is based, about 400 km from Milan. The cost of 20 million euros will be paid by six French ministries.


The internal curvy shape has been designed taking a section of the French territory, with all his mountains and hills, and turning it upside-down to obtain the internal sinuous spaces.
The internal ceiling gaps between the crossing sections will be filled with typical French products, vegetation and animals.


The covered space will contain a real working market open to visitors, recalling the classical tradition of French city covered markets like Les Halles. The market will host many shops, selling all kinds of typical food products like chocolate, cheese, wine and beer all divided by region, to display the  multifaceted French territory and its diversified production possibilities. It will also include a brasserie with 240 seats, a restaurant with 60 seats and a bakery.





Image credits: all images are from the official Expo 2015 French pavillion presentation video that you can watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wI59GxMulPk

Roberto Ercolani (http://cn.linkedin.com/in/robertoercolani/) is an Italian Architect with a 15-year experience, who has worked in Italy, UK and China as Co-founder and Director of Milano 8 Italian Architects, with offices in Shanghai and Milan.
Project and Senior Architect in international architectural firms, he has developed various projects of different scales: from masterplans to new building complexes, from building refurbishment to interior design for offices, shops, hotels and residential.