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Mother of all Expos - The World's Fair

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The World’s Fair (also known as world fair, world exposition, universal exposition, or just expo for short) is, in a way, exactly what it sounds like: a magical place where all nations from all across the globe can come together and share their best products, services, ideas or trends. It’s a large-scale cultural exchange, with thousands of performances, influential speakers and charity initiatives open to the public. We all live on the same planet and an international platform to share our world’s achievements, problems or goals is a brilliant way to unite all efforts and strengths.

The idea can be traced back to the 19th century, as the first World’s Fair took place in London as far back as 1851. Back then, the international fair not only fostered tourism or international relations, but also clearly helped in the development of art & design education – an area that lacked promotion and expertise. After this initial success, a whole chain of world fairs came to life in the years to come – each exposition held in a different country and city. As of now, various cities apply with their plans for the design of the fair grounds and compete for the chance to host this extraordinary event for 6 months. To give an idea of the scale of this event, each expo attracts about 140 countries and over 20 million visitors.

Importantly, each edition of the World Fair consists of national, but also themed pavilions which not only makes it entertaining for the general public, but also effective in the solving of global issues. In the past, these were just pavilions divided into various industries or problems. The idea, however, was further developed to include overall themes of the fairs so that all efforts from all industries are somewhat focused on one aspect. For example, the overall focus of the 2012 edition (in Japan) was “The Living Ocean and Coast: Diversity of Resources and Sustainable Development”. The subthemes were then grouped into e.g. Development and Preservation of the Ocean and Coast, New Resources Technologies and Creative Maritime Activities. Each national pavilion could then narrow the focus down to their own seas and national solutions.

In 2015, Italy is the lucky host of the World Fair, taking place from the first day of May until the end of October in Milan, offering 1.1 million square metres of exhibiting area. This time, the major emphasis of the expo is on “Feeding the Planet: Energy for Life”. What this basically means is that Milan has turned into an international base for solving global issues related to the health, security and availability of food.

Below, you can read on some of the most interesting initiatives and projects at Expo 2015:

  • Short Food Movie: Feed your Mind, Film your Planet: This project, initiated by the Fondazione Cinema per Roma and Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, encourages people to interpret the Expo theme of nutrition through a short, max. 1 minute video. This pavilion will be an artistic, yet an empowering one, bringing all sorts of food issues or celebrations to life. Selected professional or completely amateur videos are presented during the expo.
  • The School Project: An initiative aiming at educating the fair’s visitors, but also schools and universities all around the world, about food security and agricultural sustainability. The general idea is that students must come up with various innovative solutions (or other creative ideas to explore the Expo’s theme) – the chosen projects are then presented at the fair and the authors are invited to participate in the event free of charge.
  • Laboratorio Expo: A pavilion dedicated mostly to Italian universities. Its main goal is to promote scientific experiments and offer special research space for anybody studying sustainable agriculture, social and environmental aspects related to food or “smart” and “slow” city models. The exhibiting space will literally turn into a mini-lab for all students and professors wishing to participate in research.

And here are some of the most creative national pavilions at Expo 2015:

  • The Swiss pavilion is definitely hard to miss, with its powerful, metaphoric message. The space is composed of four towers – each one is full of either water, salt, coffee or apples. Once the visitors reach the top of any tower, they can help themselves to as much of the “resource” as they wish (yes, for FREE). And that’s where the moral steps in: the available resources are clearly limited, but the Expo lasts for 6 months, which works as a metaphor for the food problem on our planet. Interestingly, the shape and general appearance of each tower is slightly distorted as the resources slowly run out, making the design a true, metaphoric masterpiece.
  • Brazil’s pavilion consists of 3 floors and a virtual net. While walking around the net, visitors can change the sounds and lights around them using special movement-detecting sensors (this is, undoubtedly, a fun attraction for anybody!). Additionally, there is a whole gallery of fruits, vegetables and plants under the net, with interactive screens and information. Then there’s also the Brazilian restaurant serving some national specialties and fresh smoothies.
  • The Japanese pavilion is, practically, a food court with 7 different restaurants, allowing visitors to experience Japanese food “now and then”, including the oldest or most popular Japanese chains. More interestingly, however, the pavilion features a “Future Restaurant” where different (digital) dishes appear on interactive tables, along with recipes and nutritional details.
  • The Malaysian pavilion somewhat resembles a SPA, as there is a whole reconstruction of a rainforest, mostly built using local, sustainable materials. The magical arena comes with relaxing music and traditional desserts.

As you can probably imagine, the World Fair is one of the most interactive expositions in the world, suitable and attractive for people of all interests and ages. Its goal is not only to foster industrial and international networking between businesses and governments, but also to raise awareness of different issues and innovative solutions.

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We invite you to visit our Gallery section and look at the pictures taken during Expo 2015 in Milan. Here are the direct links to both galleries:

Expo 2015 - World's fair - general gallery (Milan, Italy)

Expo 2015 - World's fair - country pavilions (Milan, Italy)