Success for Casalgrande Padana slabs at Expo 2015 in Milan, with Vanke

Success for Casalgrande Padana slabs at Expo 2015 in Milan, with Vanke

Casalgrande Padana is the name behind yet another great success in the world of porcelain stoneware slabs, creating something truly special. To see it, just pay a visit to the Vanke pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milan. With the creation of these slabs, from the Fractile series — which was a product of collaboration with the star architect Daniel Libeskind — Casalgrande Padana, in one single object, boasts avant-garde aesthetic choices, focused technology, and innovative ways of cladding buildings.

All the numbers of a large project

For the Universal Expo, Casalgrande Padana supplied more than 4200 slabs — produced in 60×120 dimensions before being cut into two pieces, 60×60 in size — which were produced beginning with a design by Daniel Libeskind, who was also behind the pavilion project. To colour these slabs, a special red dye, with a metallic effect, was used. The graphic pattern, on the other hand, was inspired by fractal mathematics. To create this particular structure, Casalgrande Padana made use of a special three-dimensional pattern.

The Fractile slabs are the fruit of painstaking work, both from an aesthetic perspective and as regards the sophisticated industrial process, necessary for their production. The process includes glazing and firing processes at 1250 °C, using carefully selected mixtures of clays, quartz and feldspar. Oxide saturated metallic glazes provide the ceramic surface with a dynamic colour-changing effect. The special colour was developed specifically for this project in the Casalgrande Padana colour laboratory.

Cladding the pavilion

Casalgrande Padana’s work has been of decisive importance to the completion of the Vanke Pavilion within the set timeframe (it was the first pavilion to be delivered to the Expo, three months before the opening date). A truly majestic operation, especially considering the complexity of the processes which had to be carried out.

After completing the frame and installing the steel bracing struts, the horizontal corrugated sheet metal elements were fitted in, and the insulating core of the casing, made with mineralised wood fibre panels, was secured in place. Finally, a layer of shotcrete was applied on top of the support reinforcement.

The entire volume of the Vanke Pavilion (which stands out for its unusual shape) enables the installation of a metal substructure for anchoring the ceramic cladding developed by the collaboration between Daniel Libeskind and the Casalgrande Padana Engineering Division.

This installation system emphasises the disruption of the traditional coplanar surfaces through the partial juxtaposition of the evocative lacquer red Fractile three-dimensional porcelain stoneware tiles.

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