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The Surprises of Expo Milan

Beatrice Lessi

Expo 2015 is beating all records. After a rocky start, visitors are flocking to the exhibition and suggesting their friends to go too, so the final goal of 20 million visitors by the end of the year looks more and more likely.

What is it?

The 2015 Universal Exposition, better known as EXPO 2015, is built around the theme Feeding the planet, Energy for life. Addressing the challenges of food security, access to nutrition, and sustainability are the 145 participating countries, each having a chance to showcase its projects and culinary culture in custom-built pavilions. And all this is fun too!

Don’t be fooled into thinking that you might help the planet by visiting the EXPO, though: this round-the-world trip in one place doesn’t come for free – the food, especially, is quite expensive. Each country is also displaying its best assets to “sell ” you a good image/to motivate you to travel there. But every pavilion does offer you a journey through the culture, perfumes, colors and traditions of its people in an interactive, visually stimulating and entertaining way – A trip to Milan and to the exhibition could be quite a delightful experience.

So what are the best pavilions to visit? Here’s what people think.


United Arab Emirates

Dubai will host the next edition of EXPO and invested a lot of money in the Milan exhibition. People queue up for more than 90 minutes to see the lovely little Arab girl in the luxurious family SUV getting out it to share with visitors a magic trip to the desert, in the brand new 4D Cinema. The 360 degrees images, warm wind, special effects and lights will take your breath away and make you feel part of a very well made, thought provoking and entertaining story. More technological tricks will await for you before and after the exhibition.


The most technologic and entertaining pavilion: Unted Arab Emirates. Photo: expo2015.org


Surrounded by an Arab vibe – Beatrice at Expo 2015.



Drones, tulips, high technology, a cornucopia of information, images and emotions. Coloured sand and an aquarium explaining the origin of Caspian Caviar will stimulate your senses and imagination. A 3D cinema where seats “respond” to the film complete the Kazakhstan experience – the only downside is the long queueing time.


Nomadic culture meets modern technology – the Kazakhstan pavilion. Photo: expo2015.org



Children and adults’paradise – the impressive pavilion is filled with giant trampoline nets, representing the metaphor for flexibility, fluidity and decentralisation. Visitors enjoy a multi-sensory and interactive experience, making their way up and over the massive nets and around into a large indoor exhibition space. The suspended nets give people a unique vantage point above the “Green Gallery” below, which is made up of a series of planter boxer with flowers and fruits from Brazil.


The massively popular elastic net is overlooking a stunning lower floor. Photo: expo2015.org


The Wine Pavilion

The Wine Pavilion will harness a wide array of communications tools, from the oldest to the state-of-the-art, from frescoes to tablet computers, and mosaics to holograms, as it narrates the history of wine-production.
The Wine Library (la Biblioteca del Vino) is the heart of the pavilion. A wine-tasting room, in an elegant setting that is reminiscent of a comfortable reading room, invites visitors to get acquainted with some 1,400 wines and distillates from all over Italy. The exhibits will bring all five senses into play, with taste – and degustations – taking priority.


Smell, taste, enjoy – a discovery of Italy through wine. Photo: expo2015.org



The sides of the pavilion are created using highly flexible wood over an area measuring 887 square meters; the north side is more open to favor air ventilation and a micro climate. Its variety of spaces and forms looks to recreate an extensive climatic biodiversity and reflect cultural aspects of Azerbaijan. Visitors can explore its different features through the way in which the pavilion is built. It has three different biospheres; the first, a biosphere of geographical landscapes, as a crossroad between countries; the second, the nine geographic climatic zones of Azerbaijan, and the third, dedicated to traditional culture and innovation for generations to come.


The harmonius spheres of Azerbaijan – an architectural delight- Photo: expo2015.org



Although it doesn’t seem particularly striking from the exterior, what lies within the Swiss pavilion is an unexpected and creative interpretation of the Expo theme. Proposing the question “Is there enough for everyone?” the pavilion features four giant towers dedicated to different Swiss products: coffee, apples, salt and water. Upon entering the pavilion, visitors are invited to take as much produce as they wish, keeping in mind that nothing will be re-stocked for the entire life of the EXPO 2015. Visitors are asked to consider others who will visit the exhibit over the six-month period before taking something with them. The walls of each tower are made from hundreds of cardboard boxes filled with produce and the floor is actually the base of a huge elevator, which lowers gradually as the boxes of produce empty – in a thought-provoking move, visitors literally collapse.
In typical Swiss fashion, the future has been already decided: once the EXPO is over, these towers will be transported back to Switzerland and re-purposed into urban greenhouses in several Swiss cities.


Like a bank safe: help yourself to as much as you want… maybe! Photo: romyspace.it



The Austrian Pavilion is actually a lush outdoor forest, giving visitors the opportunity to meander through and enjoy a breathe of fresh air. Its lush vegetation creates its own microclimate and although it is not covered, the shade from the tress means the pavilion is always 5 degrees cooler than the exterior temperature. Every hour the forest produces enough oxygen for 1,800 visitors.

Instead of a blaze of technology, our pavilion presents a dense natural forest, says the Austrian Commissioner General Josef Pröll. The entire exhibition area in the interior is open and has been planted with trees, some of which are up to 12-metres high. This not only offers a very special experience of Nature, it also defines the EXPO skyline as a whole, because the crowns of our trees tower over most of the other buildings at the Universal Exposition


Breath Austria – Air id Food. Photo: expo2015.org



Exhibition theme: Harmonious Diversity.
Representing the fusion between tradition and modernity, environmental and aesthetic perfection, Japan proposes a pavilion that spreads over an exhibition area of 4,170 square meters, with a wide entrance and lengthwise orientation, like one of the traditional houses of Kyoto. In addition to the use of natural materials such as bamboo and wood, it makes use of technologies and systems for energy conservation. Furthermore, a range of events and installations stimulate the five senses, allowing visitors to fully experience Japan’s food culture. Highly skilled traditional craftwork and craftsmanship in the tableware, cooking utensils, and eating spaces complete the exhibition. A beautiful experience – with the only downside of a high price tag if you go to the restaurant.


A bridge across tradition and technology – Japan. Photo: expo2015.org



Colombia, unlike most countries, is not subject to the changing seasons, given its proximity to the equator. Changes in climate have only one variable: altitude. Within the Colombian territory you can go from 0 to over 5000 meters above sea level and cross all five “thermal floors” of the world (pisos termicos de Colombia).

Colombia brings together all the climates of the world, with different species of animals and plants on each thermal floor.

The lower part of the exhibition, dedicated to music, is the most interactive – go up and down the musical staircase for your own, very personal symphony.


An incredible variety of climates, products and…a great coffee! The Colombian Pavilion. Photo: expo2015.org

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