Expo 2015 ITALY – milan 1 May – 31 OCTOBER 2015
We invented the Expo, by dint of the Great Exhibition of 1851. This year it is Milan’s turn. Twenty million visitors are expected at Expo Milan before the event closes at the end of October.
Design approach 2015
Expo 2015 Italy is a curious phenomenon. Apparently the original idea for the 2015 variety was to avoid competing national designs. This approach turned out to be too radical, and Expo 2015 Italy features a long main strip, for some reason called the Decumano, along which the grander national pavilions display various forms of architecture. The result is a lot of walking, and, in many cases, a lot of queuing.
Expo 2015 Italy proves yet again that it is easier to come up with an external design than to think of interesting things to put inside. The result is that one national video of beautiful scenery and construction works fades into another. One collection of hydroponic plants is very similar to another (the official theme of the Expo is ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’).
An interior that stands out for me is of the Japanese virtual restaurant, where real chopsticks are used to summon up tantalizing virtual dishes while one is encouraged to make friends with some of the several hundred other (real) diners. Another is of the net walkway that covers the whole of the first floor of the Brazilian pavilion, suspended above a ground floor of vegetables, plants, flowers and fruits. A test of one’s stability, it is impossible to access the pavilion any other way.
BRITISH PAVILION – LIFE OF THE BEE
The British pavilion demonstrates that it is possible to have a fascinating pavilion without a single video or a single exhibit. Dedicated to the life of the bee, so vital to plant growth, it is one of a few pavilions intended to have a life after the event.
Is it worth a visit? It might be best to wait until after the summer peak has died down (the maximum daily capacity is 250,000 at which one can expect a fair bit of queuing). As an indication of how some £2 billion (infrastructure costs excluded) can produce a temporary tourist destination, yes it is worth a trip. Lasting memories? That’s another thing.