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an ethereal canopy of high-tech i-Mesh floats above expo 2020 dubai – Designboom

 
german architect werner sobek develops an innovative textile fiber for his so-called i-Mesh canopies at expo 2020 dubai. the high-tech fabric takes shape as an array of retractable surfaces, acting as a ethereal screen between land and sky which spans 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles). the technical i-Mesh textile is made in italy, and functions as a high-performance cover overhead the expo’s promenade.
 
the team describes the i-Mesh canopies as a work of ‘soft architecture.’ like a translucent ‘cloud,’ the suspended fabric protects expo visitors from strong sunlight during the day and transforms into a projection screen at night. the material is better performing, more sustainable, and more versatile for the local climate, and integrates the distinctive patterns of a contemporary ‘mashrabiya,’ the latticework traditionally seen in throughout the architecture of arab countries, celebrating the context of dubai
i-Mesh expo 2020 dubaiimages courtesy of i-Mesh
 
 
 
architect werner sobek developed the expo 2020 dubai canopies together with i-Mesh founder alberto fiorenzi, who has experience in the aerospace and nautical sectors. the textile is highly sustainable as it is conceived to prioritize circularity and durability — withstanding sandstorm resistance testing and remaining intact without rips. werner sobek integrated the i-Mesh fabric into a canopy structure that is both light and robust, thanks to highly engineered solutions. the german architect comments: ‘the dubai shade structures perfectly embody the combination of lightweight construction, innovation and design that we seek out in all our projects.’
i-Mesh expo 2020 dubai
 
 
 
because of the collaboration with i-Mesh, werner sobek succeeded in building the largest retractable cover ever made. the project marks the first canopy produced with only 3% material waste, compared to the standard 25% of the textile industry. it is also the first time that a start-up has been awarded an order in an expo project.
the team notes that i-Mesh technology allows for a new architectural paradigm — a new, soft architecture whose spaces can be more flexible, versatile. the inclusive and welcoming spaces ‘react’ to the real needs of people to ensure visual and environmental comfort. i-Mesh is the thread that binds everything, a ‘touch’ material that has found its most important expressive manifestation at expo 2020 dubai.
i-Mesh expo 2020 dubai
 
 
 
an ethereal canopy of high performance i-Mesh floats above expo 2020 dubaithe massive canopy directs visitors throughout expo 2020 dubai
an ethereal canopy of high performance i-Mesh floats above expo 2020 dubaithe textile integrates latticework patterns that echo the architecture of arab countries
the canopy spans spans 2.7 kilometers (1.7 miles)

an ethereal canopy of high performance i-Mesh floats above expo 2020 dubai
the canopy is produced with only 3% material waste, compared to the standard 25% of the textile industry
the textile is made of six types of fibers (including four minerals) and a recyclable thermoplastic polymer

 
project info:
 
project title: i-Mesh canopies
architecture: werner sobek
event: expo 2020 dubai
event dates: october 1, 2021 – march 31, 2022
collaborators: cleveland bridge middle east, lanaro
photography: i-Mesh
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