A pop-up field in the centre of Milan by A4A Rivolta Savioni Architetti


Over 1,500 man-sized sheaves of corn for the field that shot up overnight at the end of July, in the heart of Milan, opposite the Sforza Castle, between the two Expo Gate pavilions. “quantomais”, the project devised and produced by A4A Rivolta Savioni Architetti, on an invitation from Expo Gate’s artistic curator Caroline Corbetta, will be part of the city for the entire month of August.

quantomais is an unusual pop-up conception, an innovative example of urban geometry next to one of the city’s landmarks, the Sforza Castle, at the entrance to the Expo 2015. Inspired by the theme of the event – Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life – the field catches the eye of locals and visitors for its significance and spectacular nature. Conspicuously alienating, it undermines perspectives, presenting a different perception of the urban spaces in which people live and meet. This agricultural passage transforms places and habits into a new experience to be shared: a living space in which meetings, artistic interludes, appointments and minor rituals unobtrusively accompany residents and passers-by. For the entire month of August.

Conceived as an urban installation, quantomais progresses into a collective multi-disciplinary work bringing together institutions, architects, farmers, companies, technicians, artists, poets and educators with a common goal: to create a green and hospitable area in the city, a place waiting to be cultivated, in more than one sense of the word, a stage for social relations and culture. And not just a question of agriculture.

quantomais in Expo Gate is a sneak preview of a work which the A4A Rivolta Savioni Architetti studio will create on a larger urban scale for the duration of Expo 2015.

The life of an urban mobile field
Planted in June and cultivated on a farmstead close to Milan, the corn will be moved into the centre of the city overnight at the end of July. The next day it will be a field of mature corn: 360 square metres on the Expo Gate square right opposite the Sforza Castle, where it will continue to grow for the entire month of August.
Inside the plantation there are areas which will be used for performances, readings and improvisations as well as for cultivating vegetables and seasonal plants. At the end of August the field will be dismantled into the original 231 sections (beds measuring 80 x 120 x h50 cm) which will be redistributed into small city plots for local green areas, schools, universities and public areas (see the adoption tender at www.quantomais.org).

Expo 2015
The installation will happen just as Milan is getting ready for the big Expo 2015 event which, from 1st May to 31st October next year, will highlight a theme of universal interest: nourishing Man and the Planet. The choice of corn sparks reflection on one of the Expo 2015’s Clusters “Cereals and Tubers: Old and New Crops”, basic foodstuffs for a large part of the world’s population. But above and beyond the inspiring principle, and the evocative suggestion of a field of corn, A4A’s choice is functional to the installation for its aesthetic, visual and spatial impact.


Expo Gate Milan, via Luca Beltrami
1st – 31st August 2014


Project and realization: A4A Rivolta Savioni Architetti, Milan
Commission: Expo Gate
Conception: Giovanni Rivolta and Nicoletta Savioni
Technical sponsor: Toro Ag Irrigation for the micro-irrigation system
Cultivation: Azienda Agricola Marco Cuneo
Production consultants: esterni, Milan
Agricultural consultants: Antonio Corbari, Azienda Agricola Corbari; Bruna Heidempergher, Agronomist; Alberto Verderio, corn-cultivation specialist
Photographer: Francesco Gusella

Technical specifications
Size of the field: 360 square meters divided into two parts
Basic module: wooden bed with sides
Size of basic module: 80 x 120 x h 50 cm
Number of beds: 231, of which 191 sown with corn and 40 with garden plants
Weight of each module with earth: 300 kg approx.
Total number of corn plants: 1,500
Irrigation system: micro-irrigation

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About Damian Holmes 5671 Articles
Damian Holmes is the Founder and Editor of World Landscape Architecture (WLA). He is a registered landscape architect (AILA) working in international design practice in Australia. Damian founded WLA in 2007 to provide a website for landscape architects written by landscape architects. Connect on Linkedin at https://www.linkedin.com/in/damianholmes/