What is the Tree of Life?
The symbol of the Italy Pavilion is inspired by one of Michelangelo’s drawings
Its crown rises skywards, 37 meters high, supported by a complex, elegant steel-and-wood trunk: the Tree of Life, the symbol of the Italy Pavilion, is now complete and heralds the imminent opening of Expo 2015. For six months, it will serve as a powerful and evocative beacon for the hundreds of thousands of visitors to the Universal Exposition in Milan.
This massive steel-and-wood structure stands in the Lake Arena, a body of water surrounded by extensive terraced stands and the largest open space in the area. The Tree of Life, built by the “Orgoglio Brescia” Consortium, is located at the end of the Cardo, one of the two main axes in the Expo grid and major point of access to the site. The Tree stands in front of Palazzo Italia, which represents the Italian state and government.
The Tree of Life’s roots lie in one of the most fruitful historical periods for Italian art, the Renaissance. In the late 1530s, the Pope commissioned Michelangelo to re-design Piazza del Campidoglio. The artist modified its shape and paved the packed-dirt surface. The pavement itself featured a complex, symbolic pattern in which overlapping lozenges formed a twelve-point star indicating the constellations.
Marco Balich, a producer of large-scale events who also serves as the artistic director for the Italy Pavilion, drew inspiration from Michelangelo’s work to design the Tree of Life. In addition to the Renaissance, this grand structure – a monument, sculpture, installation, building, and work of art all at once - also reflects a complex symbology shared by many cultures, so that the Tree of Life becomes an emblem of Primordial Nature, the primeval life force that gave rise to the universe. The concept is by Marco Balich, while the design is by Marco Balich, jointly with studio Gioforma.
The Tree of Life is not merely tradition and religious symbolism: it also reaches out to the future, to innovation and technology. From the outset, it was conceived as an interactive icon that would capture the imagination of visitors and link together Expo 2015’s various pavilions. A series of special effects using cutting-edge entertainment technology will help it come alive. The Tree of Life will be the starting point for all of the Italy Pavilion’s scheduled events.
Uploaded: May 10, 2016