Dubai: If you are an art or a fashion aficionado, the one pavilion that you must not miss at the Expo 2020 Dubai, is the Italian Pavilion.
At the center of the pavilion is a near-exact replica of the famous David of Michelangelo. The original sculptural masterpiece stands in a public square, outside the Palazzo Vecchio, the seat of civic government in Florence, in the Piazza della Signoria.
However, this is no ordinary replica. A team of artists, architects, engineers, and historians came together, in a lab in Florence, to use 3D and space technologies to first replicate the artwork digitally, before printing it in three sections using a 3D printer.
Artists then used Italian marble dust to paint the structure, to get the marble-like finish.
David, and other Renaissance artworks are not the only thing Florence is known for. It is also one of the biggest fashion districts of Italy.
This is why, according to Paolo Glisenti, Commissioner General of Italy for Expo 2020 Dubai, Florence is a key partner for the pavilion during the Expo.
Some of the top brands in the fashion industry were born in Florence, Gucci being a prominent one.
Speaking to Gulf News, Marco Bizzarri, President and CEO of Gucci, said: “As you know, Florence is home to many many fashion brands. And, you know the fact that Renaissance began in Florence. We have a generation of artistans and their children who were born into this community have passed on their knowledge down generations.
“Florence brings to art and fashion, something that is tangible and unique in the world. There’s no other place in the world that can do that. Which is why we always invested in Florence and Tuscany in Italy.”
COVID-19 impact on fashion
According to Bizzari, COVID-19 did not see a huge impact on fashion.
He said: “I think the COVID-19 just accelerated something that was happening already. Digitalisation, which we were seeing before is going much faster now…. The great thing about fashion companies is flexibility. It only encouraged us to think about regions that were geographically closer for us, to look at as an open source for us.”
The city of Florence has taken steps to ensure a reduction in the carbon footprint of its prominent fashion industry. Speaking to Gulf News, Dario Nardella, Mayor of Florence said: “We have many big brands based in Florence. We are promoting public transport and soft mobility in the fashion district for over 46,000 employees. Florence reduced, from 2005 to 2020, 40 per cent of carbon emissions. We declared that we will reach carbon neutrality by 2040. Not just for transports but also products. Fashion companies are now focusing on products that use low energy consumption. The companies are investing a lot to reduce pollution from leather production. Not only big brands, we are also paying attention to small and medium fashion entrepreneurs, who are a part of the supply chain.”
Marco Bizzari added that their company had also seen a reduction of carbon emissions by 47 per cent in the past five years.
From Florence to Dubai
Bizzari added: “Dubai is a very important hub for us in the sense that we invested heavily in terms of shops, people, teams and training activities etc.”
He also said that Gucci has planned many activities in Dubai in the near future.
Apart from fashion, Florence is bringing something else to Dubai. The Italian Pavilion on Sunday, announced the launch of a new academic institution in Dubai, the Advanced Training School for the Reproduction of Archaeological Heritage in conflict zones.
Grazia Tucci, Professor at the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering University of Florence Italy explained that the experts who worked on the David Reproduction Project, would pass on the technical knowledge from the project, to restore heritage and architecture destroyed war zones and regions of conflict. “Reconstruction cannot be based on hypothesis… it has to be accurate,” said Tucci.
For this, the programme will include 300 hours of teaching, and the school will be established where the Italian Pavilion currently stands at the Expo site.