Connect with Firenze Made in Tuscany

Sign up our newsletter

Get more inspiration, tips and exclusive itineraries in Florence

Exceptional ambassador for Italy, an extraordinary digital reproduction of Michelangelo’s David in 1:1 scale (ph. Massimo Sestini for Italy Pavilion  at Expo 2020 Dubai)

text Virginia Mammoli
photo cover Massimo Sestini

October 8, 2021

Expo Dubai 2020, here's what the Italian Pavilion looks like

A voyage of discovery of the World Expo in the United Arab Emirates

Expo Dubai has opened to the public after a lavish opening ceremony held in the presence of music stars such as Andrea Bocelli and Lang Lang. With 192 participating countries each with its own Pavilion, Expo Dubai 2020 is the largest Universal Exhibition ever, open until March 31, 2022. 

Bocelli alla cerimonia di Apertura di Expo Dubai 2020 (credit photo: 9Colonne)

An exceptional ambassador for Italy, whose story has already travelled around the world, will be an extraordinary digital reproduction of Michelangelo’s David in 1:1 scale. Not a mere copy, but a work of art itself, which captures not only the forms of what is one of the most famous and beloved sculptures in history - the one which, in Vasari’s words, “carried off the palm from all other statues, modern or ancient, Greek or Latin [...] And, of a truth, whoever has seen this work need not trouble to see any other work executed in sculpture, either in our own or in other times, by no matter what craftsman” – but also its soul, that strong emotional and spiritual charge that passes through every fibre of its body, starting from the magnetic gaze, to which Michelangelo gave a unique expressiveness by piercing the pupils in order to create a vibrant play of light and shadow.

The roof is made up of the hulls of three boats, which when seen from above, form a record-size Italian flag (courtesy Commissariato italiano for Expo 2020 Dubai)

The ‘young hero’ was scanned with very high precision instruments in his ‘home’, the Tribune in the Galleria dell’Accademia in Florence.

After scanning, an enormous 3D printer was used to create the physical reproduction of the work, which was then flown from Florence to Dubai to be placed in the center of the Italy Pavilion in a spectacular structure-house covered with glass and gold mosaics. This extremely complex technological operation “Memory and Future” was documented by a talented photographer, Massimo Sestini, who followed all the stages, from scanning, to creation and setting up.

The project, which also includes the “making of” stage of the reproduction process, stems from Italy Pavilion artistic director Davide Rampello’s creative concept, which under the slogan “Beauty connects people” relaunches the beauty of Italy and its heritage cities, also the subject of the film made especially for Expo by Oscar-winning director Gabriele Salvatores, and which will be presented in October on the occasion of the opening of the event. The Italy Pavilion, the work of architects Carlo Ratti, Italo Rota, Matteo Gatto and F&M Ingegneria, covers 3,500m² and rises to a height of 27m. The roof is made up of the hulls of three boats, which when seen from above, form a record-size Italian flag.

The creation of David’s twin was an extremely complex technological operation (ph. Massimo Sestini for Italy Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai)

The project has created not only an exhibition space, but also a space that represents the height of Italian ingenuity. It will offer visitors - the entire Expo site is equipped to accommodate an average of 150,000 a day -  an unforgettable experience, presenting to the world the multidisciplinary skills, talent and ingenuity that can act to promote new educational, professional and business opportunities. 

A Pavilion that is simultaneously also virtual, where constant interaction with all installations and internal and external events will be possible using smartphones.

From the Immersive Ramp, travellers can appreciate Italian beauty ‘from the air’. while the Belvedere represents a circular window overlooking the most captivating areas and products of excellence of the Italian Regions. The tour continues with Short Stories - stories of knowledge and know-how - and the Innovation Observatory, a view of the final frontiers of Italian research in the fields of space, oceans and fresh water. From here we finally reach the Theatre of Memory, which is the Mother of all Muses, where David’s extraordinary twin can be found.

You may be interested


Connect with Firenze Made in Tuscany