Destination Experiences / Icons

MILAN / 2015

EXPO MILANO 2015 | Albero della Vita

Produced by Balich Wonder Studio

The global icon designed for an entertainment experience at Expo 2015

As Artistic Director of the Italian Pavilion of Expo 2015, Marco Balich conceived the Tree of Life / Albero della Vita as a symbol for the Italian edition of the Universal Exhibition. Inspired by the Expo theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, the creative and technical expertise of Balich Wonder Studio team imagined this Destination Experience icon as a gigantic tree that would stand as metaphor for the need to take nutrition from the past in order to spread beauty as a source of Energy for Life. A 37 meters high spectacular installation made of 150 tons of steel and wood capable of producing a show with music, water and pyro fountains, light and projection effects. An icon turned into an architectural landmark, becoming a symbol of unique experiences and memories that further connote the identity of the place and its emotional hook. With its 2.5 millions of visitors per month, the icon and its shows have been effective communication tools to attract new audience generating buzz on social media that made the Tree of Life a trending topic in 2015.
The President of the Italian Republic Sergio Mattarella described the Tree of Life as the symbolic legacy of the Universal Exposition: «The image of this Tree with well planted roots on the ground, the branches facing upwards and its structure full of technology, I hope it will remain as a testimony to this network of intelligence and solidarity that Milan has put in place over the past six months».

  • 2.5 Million

    of visitors per month

  • 2.160

    shows in 180 days

  • World Trending Topic

    on social media in 2015


When conceiving the icon, Artistic Director Marco Balich wanted a symbol that would recall strong roots grounded in history and a vertical leap toward the future. A fascinating symbol that could be easily drawn by a child, with numerous references. This is how the Tree of Life was born.


The design of the Tree of Life, conceived by Giò Forma, is inspired by the paving of Piazza del Campidoglio in Rome. This grid of intersecting lozenges and polygons was raised and rotated to produce the structure’s canopy. The spiral of the Tree of Life’s canopy is inspired by the Fibonacci sequence: a series of integers in which each number is the sum of the two numbers that precede it. The Tree thus becomes a “vertical town square” spread over 30 metres above the ground.

  • 37

    meters in height

  • 90

    tons of Siberian larch


The Tree of Life consists of four main steel blocks (trunk) weighing 20 tons each. At the base is a steel counter-pipe over the other elements to which the canopy was attached. Thanks to the ability of the Orgoglio Brescia consortium, the entire structure was raised and put in place in just two hours using an ingenious system of small winches.