Location: Rome and Milano, Italy
Los Angeles-based firm Synthesis Design + Architecture (SDA) has won the “Switch to Pure” competition to design a portable pavilion showing off the Swedish car Volvo V60 plug-in electric hybrid.
Volvo’s competition, organized by international architecture magazine The Plan, called for an innovative and original design for a temporary pavilion that expressed a “strong and creative identity” to showcase the car at fairs and open air presentations in Italian squares. SDA’s approach was to use the car’s design as a flexible and sustainable vehicle as the basis to reimagine the typical trade show pavilion.
The sinuous form is composed of a moiré-patterned, PVC coated polyester fabric imbedded with flexible photovoltaic panels tensioned over CNC-bent aluminum rods. The display’s three sections echo the three modes of the car—hybrid, gas, and all-electric—and its curving form is also practical—its torqued compression between frame and skin enables the structure to stand without any extra support.
The pavilion itself is highly mobile. In SDA’s proposal, it is shown arriving on site in the back of a V60, completely collapsed into a small tent bag. The bendy solar panels will power the car while it’s on display, and the whole installation can be broken down into small parts for transport. The PVC fabric gets folded up and the aluminum tubes shrink down like tent poles.
The use of light weight high-tech materials and photovoltaic power generation makes the pavilion extremely cost-effective for fabrication, transportation, and set up. This is another factor that went into the jury’s decision. It does not require a large crew or the use of a truck or other additional equipment for installation.
The first stop is Rome this September, then Milan, and Volvo is considering traveling the display worldwide.
Technical info: PVC coated Polyester fabric
Picture credits: Synthesis Design + Architecture