The city of Florence is gearing up for next year’s Universal Exhibition in Milan with a host of events and special projects aimed at attracting some of the 20 million visitors the international fair is expected to draw from May to October. The centerpiece of the city’s promotional campaign is I_Dome, an eight-foot tall interactive and multimedia modern-day version of Filippo Brunelleschi’s fifteenth-century Cupola that will showcase the finest foods and agricultural products of the local area.
PromoFirenze, the promotional arm of the Florence Chamber of Commerce, recently unveiled the plans for I_Dome. As Mario Casabianca, the deputy director of PromoFirenze, recently told The Florentine, Brunelleschi’s extraordinary Cupola was chosen for the project because it is a symbol of Florentine innovation and excellence through the ages. ‘We chose the Dome because it was a very innovative,and courageous feat of structural engineering for its era. In tying it in with the central theme of Expo 2015, we are presenting the Dome as a highly innovative solution of its time yet in a new and modern light.’
Designed by Alessandro Moradei with Elena Mari, the I_Dome uses the familiar architectural elements of Brunelleschi’s Cupola, such as its lantern, the crossbeams and ribs, but is made with contemporary materials and has modern features. For example, the exterior surface of the I_Dome has a mirror-like effect.
‘Inside the I_Dome video projections will showcase Florence’s top-quality eno-gastronomical products, such as olive oil, wine, meat and the ancient cereals used to make breads and pasta, and there will also be 8 touch screen monitors, in addition to other kinds of promotional materials, to give visitors a deeper understanding of the traditional and artisanal techniques used to make these products, of the territory’s unique culinary tradition, its biodiversity, its traditional craftsmanship, as well as issues relating to agricultural sustainability’, says Casabianca. In this way, the I_Dome project will tie in nicely to the central theme of Expo 2015.
The I_Dome is also both lightweight and durable, and thus easily transportable. Indeed, like the temporary pavilions being built at the Expo 2015 site in Milan, the I_Dome was designed for easy assembly and disassembly. It can be transported in a moving van.
The I_Dome will be on display in Florence during the six-month fair in Milan, most likely in the former courthouse in piazza San Firenze. It will then tour the world, making stops at major international events to promote Florence abroad. ‘We hope to take the I_Dome to the Dubai Expo in 2020, but that hasn’t been confirmed yet,’ Casabianca notes.
PromoFirenze is project leader for the promotion of the province of Florence during Expo2015 and is working in conjunction with the City of Florence, the Tuscany Region and the Florence Chamber of Commerce to further promote Florence and Tuscany during next year?s international fair. For information on upcoming Expo 2015 events in Florence, consult www.promofirenze.com and continue to check The Florentine’s website for updates.