Innovative i-Mesh fabric takes shape at Expo 2020 Dubai

Innovative i-Mesh fabric takes shape at Expo 2020 Dubai

The construction and textile industries are two of the most targeted industries for generating waste, toxins and carbon emissions. Innovation in both industries is moving towards a more environmentally friendly and sustainable focus. I-Mesh, recently unveiled at Expo 2020 Dubai, is an artistic and creative approach to dealing with hot climates like in the Middle East.

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i-Mesh is a lightweight, breathable material made in Italy. The new drug is a product of a start-up company of the same name. For the Dubai Expo, designer Werner Sobek used the material to build an eye-catching and functional canopy that creates a screen between the ground and the sky in the primary walkways at the Expo.

Related: Recycled wooden raft has a canopy of origami paper

The canopy folded back to reveal the open sky

Although it is a textile, it is christened with the moniker soft architecture. Stronger than typical substances, it will withstand sun, wind and even sandstorms. The structure at Expo 2020 Dubai is the largest retractable canopy ever built thanks to the innovative i-Mesh material.

The canopies look from the top and cover the landscape

“Dubai Shade Structures perfectly represents the combination of lightweight construction, innovation and design that we seek in all our projects,” said Werner Sobek.

A close-up of the woven texture and the way it can be easily folded

While i-Mesh allows natural light to filter through during the day, it reflects heat to provide exposure on hot days. At night, the fabric is transformed into a projection screen by illuminating characteristic patterns on the material called mashrabiya, a latticework traditionally used in the architecture of Arab countries.

The woven canopy with light that filters through

Developed as an architectural material designed to meet a range of weather-related conditions, i-Mesh’s mission is to provide customization options and minimal waste. The production method limits cutoff waste to 3% compared to standard textile waste of 25%. The company reports that i-Mesh can be removed, stored and reinstalled indefinitely, providing an advantage over disposable materials. At the end of its life, however, the material is recyclable. According to the website, “The material is made of only two components: fiber and resin. The resin has a thermoplastic origin, therefore both components can be separated and recycled.”

The woven canopy stretched across once

This is the first time that a start-up has received an order in the Expo project.

+ Werner Sobek

Photos via Werner Sobek


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