Milan Expo 2015, which opened May 1 for a six-month run, delights with an urban mishmash of global architecture and culinary specialties as organizers seek to advance a universal conversation on how to guarantee food for all while protecting the environment.
The Expo 2015 architectural surprises
One of the fair’s chief appeals is the tight urban interplay of representational architectural styles that surprise more than command: Nepalese stupa, Kuwaiti sails, Tajik tiles, Thai bamboo pillars, a Moroccan mud-brick structure, the United Kingdom’s enchanting fairy-lit honeycomb and vertical gardens cultivated on the walls of the U.S. and Israeli pavilions.
“I did not know what to expect from an Expo,” said German visitor Gabriele Kumlin, who spent 12 hours roaming the Expo grounds on Monday. “I was really surprised how beautiful these pavilions were. I loved the whole setting.”
The Expo 2015 agenda
The Expo has an ambitious agenda beyond being a global street fair, with the Italian government backing a process to create a document aimed at creating food security, fighting waste, combating hunger and guaranteeing good nutrition. Visitors, businesses and civil society are invited to sign the so-called Milan Charter, which is to be presented to U.N. Secretary General Ban-Ki Moon when the fair ends.
Some pavilions are more on message than others, taking to heart Expo’s mission to contemplate the planet’s dwindling natural resources and stimulate action. Others are more pointed at promoting tourism to off-the-beaten path destinations.
There’s an interesting mix of hands-on experience and technology to involve visitors in the discussion — with the analog experience winning out in many cases, perhaps due to the nature of the topic of food and agriculture.
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