EXPO 2015 Milano – A Guide to the Pavilions, Part 2
By Pygmalion Karatzas
With the theme 'Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life' the EXPO 2015 Milan focuses on sustainable agriculture. In a three-part series, we present a selection of the most remarkable self-built national pavilions, the clusters and thematic areas, and of the non-official participants, corporate and partner pavilions.
For six months, Milan will become the platform for the exchange of ideas and shared solutions on the theme of food, stimulating each country's creativity and promoting innovation for a sustainable future, giving everyone the opportunity to find out about and taste the world's dishes, while discovering the best of the agri-food and gastronomy traditions of each of the exhibiting countries.
In Milan the countries will not measure up to one another based on an abstract comparison of their levels of progress. This time, they will not only be comparing what has been done, instead the real focus will be on what the experience of each country can offer with a view to creating a future for our planet, and the degree of intensity with which they can do so./ EXPO Milano 2015 Commissioner Giuseppe Sala
For the first time in the history of the Universal Exhibitions, the host country is not represented solely by one building, although Palazzo Italia is still the largest of all the countries' pavilions, but instead extends along the 350 m. of the Cardo axis, covering the whole area from Lake Arena (on the north side) to Piazza Italia (the intersection between Decumano and Cardo), ending at the Open Air Theatre (south side).
The main building tells the story of the 'Nursery Garden of Italy', a concept developed by Artistic Director Marco Balich and interpreted architecturally by Nemesi & Partners as an urban forest. The route along the Cardo is conceptually organized in four parts and in overall is a representation of a model Italian village, alternating between recessed areas, little piazzas, terraces and buildings. The exhibition spaces along the Cardo take their cue from the image of the borgo, and represent the highly-varied landscapes of the 21 regions and autonomous provinces. In honor of the European Union, the organizers have given an independent pavilion to the EU opposite the Italian Pavilion.
Self-built national pavilions
Nine internationally-renowned photographers will share their vision of the Cluster themes in collaboration with Magnum/Constrasto. Their exhibitions will guide the public in learning the ways that various crops and human labour feed the planet. The photographers and the areas they will address are: Sebastiano Salgado (Coffee), Irene Kung (Fruits and Legumes), Gianni Berengo Gardin (Rice), Joel Meyerowitz (Cereals and Tubers), Martin Parr (Cocoa and Chocolate), Alessandra Sanguinetti (Islands, Sea and Food), Ferdinando Scianna (Mediterraneum), George Steinmetz (Arid Zones), and Alex Webb (Spices).
Some of the events that have been organized in Milan either specifically for the Expo or to coincide as parallel exhibitions are: Cirque du Soleil's Allavita! Show, La Scala Theater, Leonardo 1452-1519, Kitchens & Invaders Exhibit and Arts & Foods Rituals since 1851 Exhibit at the Triennale, Wheatfield art installation, Foundation Prada museum opening, Armani Silo museum opening.
Thematic Areas, Non-Official Participants / Civil Societies,
Some of the countries have stated they will dismantle, relocate and reuse the pavilions. It's likely some of the exhibition structures will be incorporated into the existing Fiera trade fair grounds and used in the future, while others could be used for performances and events after the Expo is finished. What will happen next to the Expo site is too early to tell, with proposals ranging from building a new stadium, to a scientific campus for the State University of Milan, to an innovation hub for tech startups.
Prof. Pantelis Skayannis, Dean of the School of Engineering at the University of Thessaly Greece, along with architecture students from the department of Planning and Regional Development visited the EXPO to study and research the impact it will have on the city of Milan.
Facts about EXPOs:
The Universal Expositions are organized by the Bureau Internacional de Exposiciones (BIE), taking place every five years over six months during which cultural, social and economic exchanges between countries, institutions, international bodies, ngo's and companies are strenghtended. They have an on-going tradition of 160 years. World EXPOs are regarded as the Olympics in the areas of economy, culture, science and technology.
Early events date back in 1851 (London) with the last EXPO in Shanghai in 2010 reaching 73 million visitors. Popular inventions presented in past EXPOs include: the photograph (1878 Paris), the ferris wheel (1893 Chicago), the X-ray machine (1901 Buffalo), electricity (1904 St. Louis), the television set (1939 New York), the mobile phone (1970 Osaka). According to the Protocol of BIE, a world exposition "is an event which, regardless of its name, has a primary purpose of public education, making an inventory of means available to people in order to meet the needs of the civilisation and highlighting current progress or future prospects within one or more areas of human activity".
All images © Pygmalion Karatzas (unless otherwise stated). For additional images from my archive of the EXPO, a section of my website will be regularly updated.
I would like to thank Sidsel Hartlev and the DAC for supporting this project, Jakob Hybel for his editorial help, Giordana Zagami from HK Strategies for providing additional information, Paola Di Marzo and Massimiliano at the Italian Pavilion press office, Roberta Riccio at the Swiss Pavilion press office, Elena Pagano at the German Pavilion press office, Fulvia Zimmitti for the hospitality, and Panos Bazos for his invaluable and continous support.
Last updated: May 28, 2015