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Of streets and squares

The Italian Pavilion of the Shanghai Expo is inspired by the relationship between humans and cities, says its chief architect Giampaolo Imbrighi.

The Marco Polo sculpture at the entrance, besides the D&G, Prada and Versace fashion shows, and the hi-tech transparent concrete panels, are all elements of this relationship, he explains. He made these remarks in Beijing recently, while delivering a lecture at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Arts.

Imbrighi and his team won the bid to build the Italian Pavilion three years ago. The pavilion, known as City of Man, occupies about 6,000 square meters, and is composed of 20 functional modules, representing the country's 20 regions. The separate modules create a large empty space in the middle, and many small paths inside the building. According to the architect, this design is aimed at reminding people about "streets and squares".

Imbrighi pointed out that since ancient times, streets and squares have been places where culture thrives, as they provide a communal space for people to know each other, and to interact with their environment. He believes that they are among the most important elements of a city.

"I wanted to remind people of the way of life in the Renaissance and the Middle Ages. Streets and squares were where true happiness was born. While nowadays, people are more separated in metropolises," Imbrighi said.

He visited many Chinese cities during the construction, trying to discover the residents' relationship with their community. Surprisingly, he found similarities between some second- and third-tier cities in China and Italy, in aspects like water and air circulation systems and architecture.


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Editors' Picks

Here are 10 reasons why you cannot afford to skip Shanghai's $4.2-billion cultural ball.

· Of streets and squares
· Supermarkets, corner stores sell Expo tickets
· Culture Voyage: Expo of Costumes

The World Expo is a large-scale, global, non-commercial Expo. The hosting of the World Expo must be applied for by a country and approved by the international World Expo committee.

The name of the mascot of World Expo 2010 Shanghai China is Hai Bao, which means the treasure of the sea.

The emblem, depicting the image of three people-you, me, him/her holding hands together, symbolizes the big family of mankind.

The theme of Expo 2010 is "Better City, Better Life," representing the common wish of the whole humankind for a better living in future urban environments.


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