Casalgrande Padana dresses up Shitang
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Casalgrande, Italy – With less than 3 months to go until the opening of Expo 2015, the Shitang pavilion of Chinese property mogul Vanke has finally taken shape. The building stages that followed the allotment-delivery ceremony included the foundations and the spectacular installation, with a crane, of each offsite prefabricated piece of the skeleton of the pavilion. These special calendered steel beams have been progressively bolted together to mould the intricate parametric geometry designed by

Daniel Libeskind, the famous architect who is the author of the project.

After completing the skeleton and installing the bracing steel rods, the corrugated steel horizontal beams were quickly fitted in, and the insulating core of the casing, made up of mineral wood fibre panels, was quickly secured in place. Finally it was all covered in a layer of shotcrete on top of a special backing.

The unusual construction will soon be ready for the installation of a special metal underlayer, which the ceramic coating will be anchored to. The installation system has been designed to emphasise the disruption of the traditional coplanar surfaces through a partial juxtaposition of the ceramic features. The spectacular facing consists of three-dimensional stoneware slabs glazed in a quaint lacquered red. The dye is a special colouring that has been specifically formulated and developed for this project by Casalgrande Padana’s colorimetric laboratory.

The exclusive ceramic material used in the Vanke pavilion is from the new Fractile range, designed by Libeskind himself. A creative experience that naturally follows on the process of research that the famous architect and Casalgrande Padana started in 2013 with the Pinnacle, an installation created for the Cersaie – Bologna Water Design Week in the 17th Century Cortile del Priore dell’ex Maternità, entirely covered in these innovative three-dimensional ceramic slabs.

In the wake of such experiment, the Fractile slabs developed for the Vanke pavilion at Expo 2015 have an outstanding dynamic three-dimensional pattern emphasised by a vibrant metallic surface, a unit that can open up new prospects and define innovative expressive languages in the design of ceramic facings.

Made in a 60x120 size and then cut into two separate 60x60 units, the Fractile slabs are the result of a sophisticated industrial process, which includes glazing and baking at 1250°C, using carefully selected blends of clay, quarts and feldspar, and oxide-rich metallic glazes that give the ceramic surface a unique, dynamic shot effect. All this, while offering excellent technical and performance standards in terms of endurance, strength and quality.