EXPO Milano 2015 & Swiss Pavilion

May 28th 2015 in travel

You must have seen a few ads for the world expo, especially if you’re a commuter like me. Swiss Federal Railways has been carrying out a major communication campaign in its stations and trains. That’s how I first heard about this event.

A world expo usually aims to promote a country’s new technological advances and industrial achievements. This is often reflected in the expo’s theme. For Milan, they chose: “Feeding the planet, energy for life”.

My curiosity was immediately piqued and I bought tickets to spend the Pentecost long weekend in Milan. This event was all the more meaningful to me, considering that Antistatique had been commissioned to overhaul House of Switzerland’s website (called the Swiss Pavilion for this occasion).

Are you interested in following the Swiss Pavilion online? It’s fun and simple. All you have to do is visit their website, like their Facebook page, follow them on twitter Twitter or subscribe to their Instagram page.

Key numbers

The expo lasts for 6 months and ends on 31 October 2015. It takes up about 200 hectares just outside of Milan, and is easily accessible by car, train or metro.

145 countries have come to Milan for the event, including companies like Nestlé and Coca-Cola, and international organizations like Caritas.


Architectural diversity at a glance

One of the most impressive things about EXPO2015 is the architecture of the pavilions. As you walk along the main avenue, which is almost 3 km long, you will  come across magnificent buildings. Modern pavilions like Kuwait and Germany mingle with more traditional ones like Morocco and Oman.

By analyzing the architecture of each pavilion, you can already get a first impression of the country itself. For instance, Switzerland is discreet and sober, while Russia asserts its status as one of the most powerful countries in the world. Our eyes are drawn to others like Ecuador and Colombia, thanks to their attractive colors and exotic appeal.

But what about the central theme?

As you stroll along the lovely main avenue, which is shielded by a canopy and filled with thousands of people, it’s easy to forget about the expo’s theme.

My wife – and certainly many others – were struck by the absence of the sustainable food theme in many of the pavilions. Many countries, like Belarus, simply introduce their current agricultural systems, without looking to the future. Nothing of great interest. Others, like Azerbaijan, tempt us with their mouthwatering local specialties. Malaysia sings the praises of palm oil, which many people, like me, are rather skeptical of. And some pavilions, like Ecuador and Colombia, seek to attract tourists. When we walk out of them, we get the urge to catch the next plane to Cali or Quito!


Star pupils

Some countries do promote the theme of sustainable development by teaching visitors how to be more respectful towards our planet. France and Switzerland stand out from the crowd.

The pavilion of our dear neighbour is constructed in the form of a market and is built entirely out of wood. Visitors can learn about the importance of sustainable agriculture on big screens featured in the pavilion. You can also purchase a little croissant or baguette. As for Switzerland, the pavilion consists of 4 towers that represent the 4 most important food products in our economy: coffee, apples, water and salt. Visitors can help themselves to as much of these products as they wish. But there is one catch. Supplies are limited and will not be restocked during the expo. If visitors get too greedy, future visitors may find the towers completely empty. The message is clear: consume intelligently and think of future generations.

The expo is certainly a worthwhile excursion. Don’t miss out on the chance to attend this incredible event, which is only a 4-hour train ride away. The next expo will take place in 2020 in Dubai, and it will probably take more than a train to get you there!


A restaurant recommendation

Finding a good restaurant that isn’t overrun by tourists is not always a simple task. Luckily, we have a Milanese friend who recommended we go to Caffè Nazionale (Via Raffaello Sanzio 24, 20149 Milano). The owner is a former opera singer, so with a bit of luck, you’ll be treated to a private concert.