Feeding the planet, Energy for Life.

Over the past few months, you might have noticed a brightly coloured logo which has started to appear gradually and which now seems to dominate every corner of the city. Whilst this neon emblem invades the city centre, another transformation is taking place outside. The urban landscape of the land surrounding Rho – Pero is in the process of being completely revolutionised. The area, which was relatively bare beforehand, has morphed into a colossal construction site characterised by a multitude of new buildings, pavilions, roads and bridges surrounded by an army of towering cranes.

With exactly one year to go till the prestigious event opens its doors to the world, the countdown to Expo 2015 has officially begun.

This isn’t the first time that Milan has been involved in such an event, just over a hundred years ago, the city hosted the 1906 World’s Fair entitled “Esposizione Internazionale del Sempione”. More than four million people came to see displays of Italian artwork, industrial and engineering exhibits as well as contributions from foreign participants. And this time around, the ultimate goal is the same but on a slightly bigger scale (a predicted 20 million visitors are expected as opposed to the 4 million in 1906, in an area measuring 490 acres compared to the 250 acre space occupied in 1906).

This Expo’s theme is “Feeding the planet, Energy for Life”. The food theme is an obvious choice for Italy, that quintessential ingredient of Italian culture which has made this cuisine the most loved in the world. However, Italian food is nutritious as well as delicious. Renowned American scientist Ancel Keys was the first to formalise what the Italians had known for centuries with the results of his Seven Countries Study carried out through the 60’s, 70’s and 80’s. The inspiration for the study came from Keys’ curiosity about the Italian diet following the discovery that the world’s highest concentration of centenarians, was in the South of Italy.

With the world’s population set to reach 9 billion by 2050, over one billion of the earth’s inhabitants reportedly suffer from starvation or obesity; two unhealthy extremes which prove it’s time to do something to protect our future generations.

Good quality food comes from good quality earth, the “Feeding the Planet” theme isn’t just about tasty, healthy food; it’s also about looking after our planet.

Expo 2015 is applying this theme to all aspects of the 6 month event. From the development of new cycle routes around the city, to opening up Milan’s waterways in a bid to provide more “green” forms of transport, to the use of ecological and recyclable materials for construction. The UAE pavilion – which at 4386 square metres, will be one of the largest at the event – will be dismantled and reconstructed as a tourist attraction in Abu Dhabi at the end of the Expo. 0% waste.

The award winning project for the Austrian pavilion is entitled “Breathe Austria”. The novel idea involves planting a real forest replicating the climate found in a real Austrian forest. No artificial aeration needed, only genuine fresh air. (In the photo below the Austrian project)

The Austrian project as it will apper next May

Expo 2015 has come at an important time for the world. In the current climate of economic crisis and political uncertainty, we need this opportunity to prove ourselves and make a mark on the international stage showcasing to the world what we know best.

In a bid to build on the successes from the last Milanese Expo, the idea is to create history. The legacy from the 1906 Expo still remains. The International Commission on Occupational Health is the world’s leading international scientific society in the field of occupational health which was founded at the fair in 1906 whilst testimony to the 100 year old predecessor of next year’s event is still standing – Milan’s famous aquarium was built especially for the event and as anyone who has been or has walked through Sempione Park will know, it’s still standing.

Next year’s Expo will put Milan well and truly on the map with a wealth of attractions with something to suit everyone from the curious cook looking for international inspiration to large restaurateurs looking for new cooking methods and products, to ideas for ecological architecture, to fun activities for kids.

Whilst we don’t know whether the new buildings and futuristic pavilions currently under construction in Rho – Pero will still be in one piece a hundred years from now, one thing we can be sure of is that the research and important collaborative work on the future of our planet, will.

For more information on the Expo itself visit: (in Italian, English and French): http://www.expo2015.org/expo-2015

An interesting exhibition is currently taking place in the Urban Center on Galleria Vittorio Emmanuele: Milano Expo 1906: Una Storia da Scoprire. Creating a lovely link between the two expositions: http://www.expo2015contact.it/20-marzo-milano-expo-1906-una-storia-da-scoprire/

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