A few days ago, I finally managed to visit Expo 2015, the international exposition that has been hosting 145 countries since last May from all over the world, each one with their own interpretation of the theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”. If you haven’t already, you can visit Expo’s pavilions until October 31st, 2015, but let me say that it will be impossible to see everything in just one day.
For this very reason, before leaving for Milan, I did some research on which pavilions I couldn’t miss, as far as innovation and concrete contribution to the Expo’s theme development go. To be honest, some of them were just like I had imagined them, others definitely went beyond my expectations.
Therefore, here I am, suggesting the 10 pavilions of Expo Milan that, in my opinion, you absolutely have to visit. You’ll find them here in a rigorous alphabetical order.
Let’s start from the Azerbaijan pavilion, one of the most surprising to me for its shape and innovation. It is 887 square meters wide and it was made in wood and stone, coupled with glass and metal. It is made of three glass spheres on several levels that represent as many biospheres: landscapes, climatic zones and finally, traditional cultures and innovation. In the middle, you will find some wooden lamellae shaped as an upside-down tree, while in the last level you will find a luminous restaurant with a terrace.
Azerbaijan, which has always been a strategic bridge between north and south, east and west, decided to interpret Expo’s theme through thematic itineraries. The purpose is to present itself as an exporter of genuine alimentary products and as a sustainer of a policy centered on sustainable development and biodiversity.
Let’s move on to the Brazil pavilion, which occupies an area of 4,133 square meters and is developed on 3 levels, connected by an interactive net. You can walk on it and interact with the surrounding environment. The sensors, in fact, notice your movements and transfer impulses that change the sound and the music around you.
Brazil, among the largest agricultural producers in the world, deals with Expo’s theme in three different ways: a cultural one, to instruct visitors about the different types of food produce and cuisine in existence; a social one, to make food democratic by guaranteeing the chance of accessing a healthy and sufficient alimentation universally; a technological one, to show its reliability as an innovative partner.
Then we reach China’s pavilion, 4590 meters wide, divided into 4 sections: “sky”, “earth”, “man”, and “harmony”. The Chinese express the theme they chose for the Expo, “the Earth of hope”, through architecture, which has the urban environment and the landscape join each other in one place.
Internally, it’s developed from the ground up with plastic objects, videos and a great light installation that summons a huge cultivated field moved by wind. Products, rice and wheat remind of the traditional Chinese architecture.
China’s objective is to remind the whole world its philosophy, according to which Earth has been feeding man since its origins, as man is a fundamental part of nature.
The French building, mainly built in wood, extends over 3592 square meters, and is inspired by the covered market, symbolic location of alimentary culture in France. You enter through a labyrinth-garden made up of three agricultural landscapes that, like an initiatory journey, leads to a wide cave, while the vault is completely covered in vegetation.
With its participation to Expo, France intends to communicate its contribution to the world alimentary production, the development of new alimentary models, the importance of the union of quality and quantity, and the necessity of a concrete help for the developing countries’ self-sufficiency.
Israel’s pavilion occupies 2369 square meters and can grant you an impressive visual experience, through a wonderful journey in agricultural engineering. The “vertical garden”, a 70 meters long and 12 meters high wall decorated with live plants, which change their flowers and colors with the passing of seasons, undoubtedly represent the focal point.
The objective is to exalt the results obtained by work, research and development on their grounds, which have gone from being mainly arid to being fertile. Israel, thanks to Expo, also wishes to make available the competence it acquired along the years, so that other countries can benefit from it.
I couldn’t help speaking of Italy’s pavilion, a colossal building that extends over 14,000 square meters. It is made up of Palazzo Italia, representative place of the Italian state, the Cardo, a long boulevard with 4 buildings on it, and the Lake Arena. The pavilion, which is definitely innovative and unique, has a total of 9 attraction points through which the innumerable Italian excellences are shown and valorized.
The exhibition path represents an actual journey of discovery. The fulcrum of the entire project is the exhibition about Italy’s identity, which tells, with the aid of regions and provinces, the 4 Italian powers: know-how, beauty, limits and future. I invite you to discover them all by visiting Italy’s pavilion personally.
Japan’s pavilion is undoubtedly one of the most visited of the entire exposition. In the last few days, in fact, there were long queues of visitors, willing to wait up to 7 hours to visit it. The structure was built with 17,000 pieces of wood, masterfully wedged to let sunlight in. I leave you the pleasure of discovering all of it, only revealing that inside of it you will also find a restaurant that will allow you to have a virtual lunch. The food is made visible by the technology on the table, accompanied by a useful explanation of its characteristics.
Japan wishes to propose its alimentation based on rice, raw fish and vegetables like an actual alimentary model to be followed, because it is healthy and balanced, as well as completely different from the excesses that cause obesity in millions of people worldwide.
If you end up in front of a huge cob, you will know you have reached Mexico’s pavilion. Once inside of it, you will be inebriated by smells and flavors from this land. You go through it on helical ramps, and it hosts the richest local product exposition, surrounded by a water stream that accompanies visitors up to a terrace on the roof, equipped with a restaurant and an urban garden.
Mexico aims to show the richness of its territory as far as natural resources are concerned, as well as its great commitment to freeing the entire world from hunger and from non-sustainable food production. Besides, it also presents several foods with healing properties.
The Morocco pavilion reminds of an Arabic fortified citadel. Through videos and installations, all the riches of this land are exalted, such as Argan oil, saffron, olive oil, and honey. At the end of the itinerary, you can relax in a typical Mediterranean garden, with olive, palm, and orange trees.
While you get further into the pavilion, you will feel like you are actually travelling through Morocco, touching and smelling the several typical food products of Moroccan cuisine, as well as deepening your knowledge of the different cultural traditions that live together in this exotic land.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES
Finally, I decided to include the United Arab Emirates, which present themselves with a pavilion made of 12 meters high, corrugated walls, with a double function: to remind of the alleys of the local villages, and to reproduce the suggestive sand dunes of its deserts. Inside of it, the video “Family Tree” is projected, whose end is decided involving the visitors themselves.
The interpretation of the United Arab Emirates of Expo’s theme exalts the innovative solutions they developed through the years in the food, energy, land and earth sectors, applied on a local level, but also capable of bringing benefits on a global level.
This is where our journey through Expo’s best pavilions ends.
If you need further information on the exposition and on the participating countries, you can visit the official website.
If you want, let me know what your favorite pavilions were.
All the best!
COVER PHOTO: WWW.EXPO2015.ORG/IT