Creates a taste pavilion with Nestlé S.A.
Among the world’s major events, only the Expos seem to be in a position to rival the scale of the Olympics and the Football World Cup. But this kind of event now seems to attract mostly developing countries. What sense does it make for a mature —and stagnant— economy such as that of Europe to host an Expo? Milan is issuing a challenge to the world by tackling one of the crucial themes affecting the future of humanity: food.
‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for life’ is the name given to Expo Milano 2015, which will be held in Milan from May 1 to October 31. Expo has not yet opened its doors, but has already broken a few records, chief among which for its 53 national pavilions that have attracted over €1.2 billion in foreign investments.
Among the most interesting pavilions is the Swiss one, whose foundation stone was laid on September 12, and the work carried out with Swiss precision and timing. In fact, Switzerland’s immediate involvement and interest in the exhibition was due to its theme, which attracted various international organizations headquartered in the Swiss Confederation.
The Swiss Pavilion —which extends over an area of 4,432 square meters— is characterized by a large open platform with four tall silos filled with food products. “Visitors enter the towers by means of lifts and, once at the top, can taste products such as water, salt, coffee, and apple rolls: chosen because they represent Swiss sustainability, accountability, responsibility, innovation, and tradition. The coffee capsules are provided by the Nestlè sponsor, the salt comes from the Swiss Saltworks, and the apple rolls are a symbol of our agriculture,” said the curators of the Swiss Pavillion.
It is Nestlé, in fact, that will present the secrets of the fascinating relationship between people and food. An interactive exhibition will lead to the discovery of how and why the mind and body interact continuously to the stimulus of food, and will explain the mechanisms that lead us to desire, choice, and the enjoyment of what we consume every day. The interaction between food, mind, and body can induce people to adopt proper nutritional habits.
“This exhibition,” says Robin Tickle, head of corporate media relations Nestlé Global, “aims to increase our knowledge of the connections between food and the human body: we have translated sound scientific references into a project that will be disseminated by means of interaction and enjoyment. Tickle goes on to say that through its research centers, Nestlé is now the largest private network of knowledge related to applied nutrition. “We wanted to share and integrate this strong heritage with a ‘Made in Italy’ excellence of nutritional medicine. The result is an enjoyable exhibition that offers visitors different kinds of experiences and levels of analysis: a journey to the discovery of various themes that allow complete freedom to the visitor to satisfy his personal curiosity and interest,” he said. The contents of the exhibition were developed by three major players of international scientific research on nutrition: the Nestlé Research Center, the world’s largest private facility on nutrition research, the Nestlé Institute of Health Science, specialized in research aimed at developing specific nutritional needs, and the (IAI) Italian Auxologic Institute, the ‘Made in Italy’ excellence in nutritional science.
“The Swiss Pavilion is the result of a strong partnership between the public and private sector, to which Nestlé contributes significantly with its expertise in the field of food research and innovation,” stated Dante Martinelli, the Swiss Commissioner General for Expo Milano 2015. “We are pleased to show visitors to the Swiss Pavilion the diversity of the Swiss Confederation: from expertise in Nutrition, Health and Wellness on the part of a leading international group such as Nestlé to the agricultural center represented by traditional Swiss food specialties.”
Switzerland was the first to sign up and was thus able to choose the most sought-after site on the long Decumano Avenue. The Exhibition Site is built along two intersecting lines, which symbolize the Latin castrum, with its structural layout of two main streets that are perpendicular to each other: the Cardo and the Decumano. The pavilions have been built along these two streets. Decumano, the main street crosses the whole site from east to west for about one and a half kilometers. On either side of the Decumano are the national pavilions of the participating countries, and out of 130, around 60 will develop their own pavilion. All the others are inside a Cluster. Symbolically, the Decumano is connected to where food is consumed (the city) and where food is produced (the countryside). The Cardo, crossing Decumano, is 350 meters long. It connects the exhibition site from north to south and is where the Italian pavilion is placed. In this area, called Palazzo Italia, all the cultures and traditions typical of the Italian food industry are showcased.
PiazzaItalia is the main square where the two streets cross, symbolizing the place where Italy meets the rest of the world. At the four extremities of the Cardo and the Decumano there are some of the most important structures of Expo Milano 2015: the Mediterranean Hill, the Expo Center, the Open Air Theater, and Lake Arena. These landmarks give visitors a sense of direction and will offer locations for hosting some of the biggest Expo events.
While the great exhibitions of the past aimed at celebrating the idea of economic, social, and scientific progress, which seemed limitless, the world has now entered a phase of history in which the focus is on capping it. Rather than unlimited growth, the watchword is now sustainability. Expo Milano 2015 aspires to be the first major global event that looks at ways of development that consider the scarcity and limited resources of food and energy, including environmental issues and natural resources. Every nation has to guarantee a percentage of greenery within an allotted area. At Expo 2015 there will be natural vegetation, cultivated vegetation, and architectural vegetation. There will be 12,000 trees up to 12 meters tall, 85,300 shrubs, and 107,600 water plants, including 151,700 herbaceous plants.
The geopolitical aspect involving food is not the same as that which supports global finance or national governments. A different world order will thus be represented at Expo Milano 2015. For instance, Africa, the continent with the greatest number of participating countries, is presenting —for the first time— three natural pavilions: Angola, Morocco, and Nigeria. Africa is the biggest surprise of this edition of Expo. Africa is growing at an unimaginable pace with mature markets and a few emerging ones: it has a population of one billion, made up of very young people, with 44 percent under 15 years of age. Its subsoil is rich in raw materials and possesses infinite acres of fertile land. It has a GDP rate among the highest in the world that is equal to 5 percent. According to studies by the World Bank, over the next twenty years more than 50 percent of Africans will move to cities. Its middle class is likely to grow in size, income, and life expectancy. According to the McKinsey report, by 2030, 18 major cities on the continent might reach a spending potential of nearly US$1,300 billion —an upward trend that obviously carries many contradictions.
The participating countries at Expo Milano 2015 are not the traditional ones, and this will be more evident than ever at the Decumano. Visitors will not pass from Europe to Asia, from Africa to America, as has always been the case, but rather through a great global melting pot.
Thus, we can only hope and rely on the success of Expo Milano 2015 to boost the value of the site and bring millions of visitors.
For more information: www.padiglionesvizzero.ch
Article by Piera Anna Franini