Thursday, September 24, 2015

Expo 2015 - A Party in Milano!

Feeding the Planet
Energy for Life

109 years after hosting its first Fiero (Worlds Fair) in 1906, and with an expected attendance of about 20,000,000 visitors and over 140 participating countries, Milan's International Exposition Expo 2015 is something of a miracle. With the theme of providing dialogue and potential answers to how to assure sustainability, health and sufficiency in the World's food supply, this fair hit all the right chords.

It was a way to learn about food, taste foods from around the world and discover agri-food and gastronomic traditions around the world.

In this seemingly fractured world any forum that encourages the sharing of ideas seems slightly miraculous. 

Strangely when I mentioned I was going to the 2015 World's Fair almost no one I talked to in the US was even aware that an exposition (anticipating 20,000,000 people) was even going on.....

When I awakened in my hotel near Malpensa airport I could see snow capped Alps, yet enjoyed a 82° day for my visit to the fair.

Entering One of the Security Portals

As with any festival in the world getting to the fair involved a lengthy security check. No Problem-o, I like knowing that they care about our safety.

I had no clue how successful the event has been and had to carefully choose which pavilions I wanted to see. The almost 8-story Italy Pavilion at some point in the day had 4-hour waits to enter. I went later and still waited 1-1/2 hours. And, yes, it was totally worth it.

Crysanthmums - Symbol of China

 Coping With A Long Wait

 Inside the China Pavilion Were Fields of Ever Changing LED Light

A Nearly 1-1/2 Mile Promenade 
Offering Shady Access to Most Major Pavilions 
(This Photo was Taken at Approximately the Midpoint) 

 Inside the Spanish Pavilion  
Its Theme Presentation Projected on Plates

One of the best corporate pavilions was COOP's Supermarket of the Future. Inside all the products were available for purchase. Fruits and veggies were being stacked and replenished by robotic arms and above any product you reached for was an interactive display providing nutrition, recipes, handling information and pricing for the item you were touching. 

Inside the Supermercato!

I bought sandwiches, fruit, a tall beer, nuts and some fruit snacks (along with a COOP shopping bag). Grand total? 9 E.

Israel's Field's For Life 
Vertical Farming

Many thanks to the James Beard Foundation, Walgreens, Pepsi and all the other participants for footing the entire bill for an American Pavilion: American Food 2.0. Since the 1980's the US has boycotted national participation in International Expositions. 

The 3 story building offered insight into agricultural research being undertaken in the US, was staffed by college students in sharp blue blazers. 

On the rooftop there was a cafe and winebar all covered by the world's largest array of Hitachi color changing solar panels. Exiting the pavilion you entered a courtyard filled with an array of food trucks allowing one to sample the diversity of American cuisine.

If you are wondering why there hasn't been a worlds Fair in the US for more than 3 decades, it is because the US Congress hasn't paid its dues to the Bureau of International Expositions. Hence, the US is ineligible to host a World's Fair. Just another reason to love congress.
American Food 2.0


The entry to the Russian pavilion was a tour de force of mirrors. Inside there were interactive displays explaining Russia's vast array of crops by region, a variety of cooking demonstrations, descriptors of its reserves of fresh water (the largest reserves remaining on our planet) and a tribute to Russian food researchers and botanists.
 The Qatar Pavilion had Touchscreen Menu's Describing  Regional Cuisines

Chile's Pavilion 
An Architectural Masterwork

Architect Cristian Underraga created an exceptional National pavilion for Chile. Sadly my photo's do NOT do it justice. The wood lattice bridgelike structure simply floats over 4 immense steel supports. The space below contains a cafe and large commercial space offering Chilean wines and (mainly) food related products.

Below Chile's Pavilion

Somewhere just past its midpoint the main promenade is bisected with another pedestrian street which provides access to the Italian National pavilion and the fair's iconic "Tree of Life" structure.  At the other end of the cross street is the fair's huge open air amphitheater.

The Tree of Life

I was hell bent not to leave Expo without seeing its signature pavilion (Italy) so as the sun set I waited in (the now 1 - 1/2 hour) line to get it. The birds nest designed building is 8-stories of superb Venetian plasterwork. All smooth as a baby's butt.

The "Birds Nest" Italy Pavillion 
(On the Left)

Inside the Italy Pavilion

The Italy Pavilion was a celebration of Italian food giants in agriculture, cooking and culture. I particularly liked all its immersive mirror rooms, visually showcasing Italian scenery and its architecture. The  "A World Without Italy" section was fascinating as well.

Immersive Italy 
(Inside the Italian Pavilion)

Pinksie the Whale at Night
(The Waterstone Pavilion)

Time ran out before the fair did. In reality seeing the entire fair would have taken many days. So I missed some spectacular pavilions (like the UAE's etc.)

For anyone keeping track, the next international Expo will be in 2017 in Azana Kazakhstan followed by the United Arab Emirates in 2020!

Roadboys Travels © 2015


zerry ht said...

I feel this is a must see event. I enjoyed this blog a lot. You shared great pictures here. Well, please share if I can attend such an event at lofty spaces which are nearby my place. Waiting for your reply.

Roadboy said...

Hi Zerry, Thanks for your very nice comment. The next expo will be held hosted by the amazing country of Kazakhstan! Dubai follows with an expo in 2020.