Theatrum Naturae. French Pavilion, World Expo Osaka 2025 (JP) by Coldefy and Carlo Ratti Architetti

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Project team
Thomas Coldefy, Isabel Van Haute, Zoltan Neville, Martin Mercier, Marianna Guarino, Léo Akahori, Leonardo Ronchi, Shuai Wang.
Carlo Ratti, Andrea Cassi (partner in charge), Ina Sefgjini, Gizem Veral, Jelena Kro, Gabriele Sacchi, Alba Leon Alvarez, Marie Petrault, Antoine Picon.
Partners.- Yasui Sekkei (local architects & engineers)
Competition partners.- Bollinger + Grohmann (Structural engineers), Coloco (Landscape architects), Ramboll (Environmental engineers), de_form (Graphics/signage).
3 600 sqm Net Area.
Winning competition.- 2023.
Delivery.- 2025.
Osaka, Japan,
22M €.

Thomas Coldefy, Isabel Van Haute. Coldefy

Coldefy is an architecture studio founded by Thomas Coldefy and Isabel Van Haute in 2006, with offices in Lille, Paris, Shanghai and Hong Kong. The studio has an international team with completed and ongoing projects, public and private at all scales, around the world.

Thomas and Isabel met at SCAU in Paris after working for, among others, Kohn Pedersen Fox and Richard Meier and Partners on large-scale complex projects. When designing, they pay special attention to the place, the urban culture related to density and diversity, as well as a conceptualization process where the various factors of the project come together continuously.

After founding the studio, they won the competition for the Hong Kong Institute of Design in 2006 against 162 teams. The project completed since 2009 has been the subject of numerous international publications, was nominated for the AFEX Grand Prize in 2012 and exhibited at the Venice Architecture Biennale.

In France, Coldefy continues to develop a series of projects, especially in the heart of the Lille metropolitan area, where they have already completed multiple operations: multi-family housing and offices at the Porte de Valenciennes Arboretum in Euralille, the Lucie Aubrac Secondary School. The school in Tourcoing, the first low-energy school in the region, or Rigot Stalars, a historic mixed-use rehabilitation and extension, creating a new neighborhood in Dunkirk.

In 2016, the office carried out two major construction projects in the Lille metropolitan area: the Aquatic Center in Douai and the Lycée Hôtelier de Lille. Having completed the first phase of the new OVH campus, the team worked on the project for a complex bringing together leisure, cultural and retail spaces in Orgeval, as well as the transformation of an eclectic historic neighborhood in Fuzhou, China. In addition, there are multiple commissions and competitions, including a graphic arts school in Montpellier, the planning of a new development area in the Paris region, the second phase of Rigot Stalars, a restaurant and high-end residential units in the historic Vieux Lille, the modernization of a Villa in Shanghai, etc.

5 finalists for the Louvre Lens international competition, together with Steven Holl.
International conference center in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso in 2009.
40 Under 40 Award in 2010, which recognizes the most talented young architects in the world.
WAF World Architecture Forum (nomination), 2011.
Pyramides d`Or, 2011.
IDA Award in 2012.
Awarded the silver prize for the IDA 2012 awards.
Public Service Hall in Kobuleti, Georgia in 2012.
Perspective “40 under 4”, 2014.
Asia «40 under 4», 2014.
Europe «40 under 4», 2014.
IDA-International Design Awards, 2016.
European Architecture Prize, 2021.
International Architecture Prize, 2021.
Order of Arts and Letters, Thomas Coldefy, 2022.

Carlo Ratti Associati

Carlo Ratti Associati is an international design and innovation office based in Torino, Italy, with branches in New York and London. Drawing on Carlo Ratti’s research at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology Senseable City Lab, the office is currently involved in many projects across the globe, embracing every scale of intervention – from furniture to urban planning. The work of the practice merges design with cutting-edge digital technologies, so as to contribute to the creation of an architecture “that senses and responds”.

Noteworthy achievements at the urban and architectural scale include the masterplan for a creative hub in the City of Guadalajara, the renovation of the Agnelli Foundation HQ in Torino, the Future Food District at Expo Milano 2015, and the Digital Water Pavilion at Expo Zaragoza 2008. Product design projects range from experimental furniture for Cassina to light installations for Artemide, to responsive seating systems with Vitra.

In all these circumstances, the studio investigated the ways in which new technologies, including digital sensors and portable devices, are changing both the built environment and everyday life. The works of the practice have been featured in publications worldwide, including The New York Times, Financial Times, Wall Street Journal, The Guardian, BBC, Wired, Boston Globe, Der Spiegel, Corriere della Sera, Domus. The projects of the studio have been exhibited in cultural venues such as the Venice Biennale, New York’s MoMA, Istanbul Design Biennial, and many others.

Carlo Ratti Associati is the only design firm whose works have been featured twice in TIME Magazine’s “Best Inventions of the Year” list – respectively with the Digital Water Pavilion in 2007, and the Copenhagen Wheel in 2014. In the last years, the office has been involved in the launch of Makr Shakr, a startup producing the world’s first robotic bar system.



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