i-Mesh for Expo 2020 Dubai by Werner Sobek made with an innovative textile fiber


New fabric for architecture. 2.7 kilometers of retractable textile surfaces provide 52,500 square meters of lightness and technology, acting as a screen between land and sky: i-Mesh, a Made in Italy technical fabric, allows the realization of a highly-performing cover for Expo’s promenade.

A high-tech, green, textile material, defined by the strength and flexibility of the fibers, softness and well-calibrated weight. It is called i-Mesh the material used by German studio Werner Sobek to cover the Expo 2020 Dubai promenade: 2.7 km of Made in Italy technical fabric for architecture, for a total area of 52,500 square meters.

It can be called soft architecture: an ethereal, translucent “cloud” hanging between land and sky that protects from the heat during the day and transforms into a projection screen at night. The i-Mesh fabric – better performing, more sustainable, and more versatile for the local climate – features the distinctive patterns of a modern “Mashrabiya”, the latticework traditionally used in the architecture of Arab countries.

Alberto Fiorenzi, the founder of i-Mesh, started from his experience in the aerospace and nautical sectors to create a new, highly-performing material for architecture, conceived from the viewpoint of circularity and maximum customization. i-Mesh flourished in a sandstorm resistance test, remaining intact without ripping thanks to the strength and flexibility of its fibers, soft material, and well-calibrated weight.

“The Dubai Shade Structures perfectly embody the combination of lightweight construction, innovation and design that we seek out in all our projects,” according to Werner Sobek, who has designed a structure that is both light and robust thanks to the highly engineered solutions and advanced technologies adopted. The result is an innovative project from multiple points of view.

Collaborating with i-Mesh allowed him to build the largest retractable cover ever made. It is the first canopy produced with only 3% waste of virgin material, 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. i-Mesh allows imagining a new architectural paradigm. A type of soft architecture which designs softer, more flexible, versatile spaces that focus on human beings and their well-being.

Inclusive and welcoming spaces, they “react” to the real needs of people, ensuring 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. Applied on a large urban scale for the first time, i-Mesh covers the main walkways connecting the areas of Expo 2020 Dubai.

It does not block the view of the sky nor the passage of air, but instead repels solar radiation, providing a feeling of comfort while maintaining a pleasant microclimate. Werner Sobek’s idea was to recreate the intimate and familiar character of a retractable pergola, but with significant dimensions: an idea that i-Mesh allowed him to transform into reality. Source by S.I. Srl.