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Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life

Updated: Aug 6, 2020

In continuation to the previous post on the 2010 World Expo in Shanghai by Ekta, here’s a photo-story on some of the interesting pavilion designs from the latest World Expo that took place in Milan, Italy in 2015.

As Milan is a well-known global design hub it was no surprise that here too as in previous editions of this global event architecture took center stage, with some really interesting pavilion designs. However, unlike in Shanghai, a majority of pavilions seemed to embody the spirit of the overall theme of the Expo (which was “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life“) more closely, leading to many modest projects with strong connections to the landscaped areas and outdoor spaces with many of them structured around tiny enclosed gardens.

The Pavilion Zero, designed by Michele de Lucchi, was located close to the expo’s main entrance, featuring some of the themes which formed the “backbone” of the Milan world exposition: the history of the relationship between humanity and the Planet Earth, the transformation of the natural landscape, food rituals and culture were depicted mostly through immersive installations.

This was the Dome Pavilion designed by Studio Mosae, at the centre of this stepped plaza like pavilion was a reproduction of the “Madonnina”, a 4.16m high bronze replica of the statue the tops the famous Milan Duomo covered with gold leaf.

This was the brilliant Bahrain Pavilion designed by Studio Anne Holtrop. Archaeologies of Green – was a poetic interpretation of the cultural agrarian heritage of Bahrain. The pavilion was designed in collaboration with landscape architect Anouk Vogel. With ten distinctive fruit gardens, containing trees that will be fruit–bearing at different moments throughout the six-month duration of the exhibition, the pavilion also features archaeological artifacts that celebrate the millennia long tradition of agriculture and perpetuate the many myths of Bahrain as the location of the Garden of Eden and the land of the million palm trees.

This was the Brazil Pavilion designed by Studio Arthur Casas + Atelier Marko Brajovic. In this pavilion the architects aimed to combine architecture and scenography in order to provide visitors with an experience that in their words would convey ‘Brazilian values and the aspirations of its agriculture and livestock farming according to the theme’ of this years expo. I love the playfulness of this pavilion and how the way you move through it challenges you physically and completely alters your interaction with the space!

This was the UK Pavilion designed by Wolfgang Buttress. The pavilion is developed around the concept of the beehive and how new research and technology are helping to address food security and biodiversity.

Paris-based X-TU envisioned a more cohesive, sustainable market where food is not only grown and harvested, but sold and consumed on the spot. Serving as the French pavilion, X-TU’s competition-winning scheme celebrated the country’s “rich genetic heritage” and future in innovative food production with a timber “fertile market” that supports the growth of the produce it sells.

In the Slovenian Pavilion, designed by SoNo arhitekti, five prismatical structures, positioned on the geometrically and dynamically designed surface, whose shape was reminiscent of a cultivated field, represented Slovenian diverse geographical landscapes and symbolized the fundamental ideas of sustainable development.

This was the “Austrian Pavilion” designed by team Breathe Austria. Here the pavilion itself is the exhibit, it functions as a prototype to address possible future interaction between the natural environment and urban strategies by demonstrating the potential of hybrid systems that integrate nature and technology. The central element is a dense Austrian forest brought together with technical elements in order to create a breathing microclimate. With this oxygen- and carbon-producing core, the pavilion becomes an “air generating station” – and the only building on the entire EXPO site to withstand the hot Milanese summer without conventional air conditioning.

The Russian Pavilion, designed by Speech, had a dramatic 30-meter cantilevered curved form, giving the structure a memorable silhouette which was clearly visible in the EXPO’s panorama.

This was the Gallery of Estonia designed by Kadarik Tüür Arhitektid. The entire pavilion was composed of a series of wooden ‘Nest’ boxes clustered around a triple height courtyard that worked like a small urban plaza.

This was the Slow Food Pavilion at the expo designed by swiss architectural firm and initial masterplanners of the Milan Expo – Herzog & de Meuron.

The Japanese pavilion, designed by architect Atsushi Kitagawara, fused traditional culture with advanced technology, employing a compressive strain method in which joints consist only of carved wood, without metal couplers.

This was the USA Pavilion designed by Biber Architects

This was the Vietnam Pavilion designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects. In the words of the designers ‘..Plants on buildings harmonize the living environment which positively affect human mind. Vietnamese cities, including Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City lose green areas which are decreasing to less than one square meter per citizen beside the economic development. As a counter proposal to the current situation, we want to share an approach to plant trees even on top of buildings by integrating it in the building design….’

The China Pavilion; designed by Tsinghua University + Studio Link-Arc.

The UAE Pavilion, designed by Foster + Partners, was interesting for its representation of the desert landscape and planning traditions of the Emirates.

Lastly, this was the beautiful “Secret Garden” of Apple trees at the heart of the Polish Pavilion designed by 2pm Architeki.

All photos © Sahil Latheef



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