Expo Milano 2015 – The Tree of Life

Milan, Italy

Project Team

  • Aquatic Engineer: Watercube
  • Water Feature Contractor: Watercube
  • Water Feature Product Manufacturer: Crystal Fountains

Parts Used

In 1851, London hosted the first ever World’s Fair; effectively creating a platform for countries to come together from around the world to combine their resources in an effort to resolve global issues. Over a century and a half later, International Exhibitions, also known as EXPOs, continue to give the global community the opportunity to strive towards a better life for its citizens. In 2015, Milan hosted the EXPO with more than 140 countries participating.

Milan is a leading global city, a popular tourist attraction, and an economic and cultural powerhouse; the ideal location to host this six month exhibition. With live shows and performances courtesy of the world’s top talents, including Canada’s Cirque du Soleil, the exhibition incorporates a strong human and cultural essence into the festivities. Equally impressive, world exhibitions have famously left their mark on the landscape of the host site with timeless architecture and design; like the Eiffel Tower created for the Paris 1889 World Fair; or the water feature for the EXPO ’67 in, which was one of Crystal Fountains’ first projects.

The Expo Milano 2015 is leaving a legacy of its own, with a captivating combination of structural art and performance encapsulated in The Tree of Life. Located at the heart of the Expo in the middle of the Lake Arena, which seats 20k spectators, Marco Balich designed this 37 meter tall extravagance by drawing inspiration from Michelangelo’s 12 point star in the center of Piazza del Campidoglio; representing the constellations.

As if this LED clad structure wasn’t impressive enough on its own, though, the Tree is also surrounded by over 250 of Crystal’s jets; a perfect combination of ChoreoSwitches and Titans. Fountains have played a significant role in Italian history, and this incorporation of a water feature into the Italian icon of the Expo Milano 2015 not only adds entertainment value, but is a symbolic representation of the three rivers: the Po, the Ticino and the Adda, which surround Milan. Reaching heights of over 30 meters, these jets match the rhythm of the 12 minute custom composition of Meastro Roberto Cacciopaglia, which also guides the colour sequencing of the 472 Crystal Fountains LED lights. The final outcome is nothing short of spectacular; with history, art, lights, water, and music coming together to showcase a brilliant example of what human beings are capable of when they work together, and the impact that our innovations can have on others.

The Tree of Life is not merely a traditional or a religious symbol, it also reaches out to the future, to innovation, and to technology. Furthermore, it incorporates water into its design, which is a strong and necessary element to the Expo’s theme. The combined efforts of Milan and its guests are breaking headway in their goal to sustain the global population; achieving this not only by working towards combating issues surrounding nutrition, but by feeding our natural human lust for entertainment, cultural appreciation, and shared experiences with our global community. By giving us a look into Milan’s impressive history, the Expo then directs our gaze forward, towards an equally impressive future to be shared by everyone.

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