World Exhibition 2015 – Bel Paese
Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life
1992 Seville, Lisbon and now in 1998 in Milan. Accordingly I am not completely Expo inexperienced, but I am no longer the same – came with great expectations,and returned a bit disappointed.
The Expo in Milan wants to provide answers to the major issues of food and energy supply. At the same time Expo wants to be a role model, not showing mega-buildings.
But if that succeeds? Perhaps too many big groups can be seen that do not necessarily have written the healthiest diet on their banners: Nestlé, Coca Cola, Ferrero or MacDonalds. Everywhere stalls invite more to eat, than to inform.
It helps little that TechnoGym offers around the expo fitness equipment to “lets move & donate food” – although as 650,000 meals were under-nourished children.
Overall the Expo appears as a mile of junk food and is easily accepted by the Italians for a simple and cheerful family party. But I do not want to accuse Expo of that, as a world exhibition should still appeal to people. More sophisticated Milanese people have however clearly spoken out against these often simple mass hype.
In most cases, visitors are arriving via metro at Rho Fiera and go through a gigantic bridge construction over railways and highway directly onto the Expo grounds. Here can be seen that size and quality are different issues, as the construction is quite uncharitable. Who had arrived Milano Malpensa, has seen and felt the strength of a steel structure that still follows the credo form follows function – though somewhat dated. The Expo as a whole can not keep up, although Padiglione Zero, the entrance pavilion with its organic structure and its internal library of the food is quite exciting. Each drawer is representing a food, an animal or a preparation. But this pavilion zero is not well-designed, endless queues are seen to acquire the episodic admission. Smaller pavilions can not solve this problem, this has to be forgiven. But within large forms like the Padiglione Zero curators should solve this problem easily. As a sample of valid visitor guidance may the German pavilion be seen: The outer and freely explorable landscape level gently leads onto the building’s roof, while shaded by oversized “idea seedlings” and their solar canopy – while at the same time you can look down at the stage or into the pavilion interior. Thereby the flow of visitors is spread without leading to tangible traffic jam. Truly well organized & German.
But enough of the negatives:
The symbol of the Expo, the Albero della Vita was quite Impressive
The nightly show of Marco Balich and its Tree of Life, where together with the Milanese composer Roberto Cacciapaglia enchanted millions of visitors, was nice and entertaining. The design is taken from Michelangelo’s Piazza del Campidoglio plaster in Rome, which was converted to 3D and equipped with the latest technology. In some moments Italian Kitsch could be seen – but also this belongs here.
Even so some Groups have presenting themselves – at least I did not know the Vanke Group. External shape and internal presentation fit together, were medially well designed. The biggest real estate companies in China (annual sales nearly 5 billion euros) showed externally with a red scaly skin like a dragon and offered internally on tens of screens an overarching presentation on urban growth.
By the way, well staged is also the Armani Hotel. On the ground floor you enter the elevator from a quite a small hall. This moves up (you believe one level), the elevator doors open and you can enjoy – the view over Milan. From the 8th floor because the elevator is an extremely well adjusted Express Lift. I call that well staged.