France has engineered a spectacular pavilion for the Expo Milano 2015 that responds creatively to the theme of the exposition: ‘feeding the planet, energy for life.’ The inter-professional creative team collaborated to design a structure based on four themes: the promotion of sustainable agriculture, improvement and increase in production, pleasure and health, and the transfer of innovation.
The architecture and concept of the pavilion embody these four themes through a natural, open and interactive design whose structure spans over 2000 square meters and which is made entirely of wood from the Jura forests in France. Studio Adeline Rispal is responsible for the conceptual layout of the pavilion, which resembles a verdant mountain range flipped on itself, and the French Commissioner General Alain Berger teamed up with a host of different public and private inter-professionals and research organizations to integrate the scientific and technological components of the exhibit. The Pavilion can best be described as a multi-sensory educational experience that seeks to symbolize French agriculture while showcasing its many strengths ranging from impressive diversity to pioneering research.
The experience begins outside the exhibit, as guests line up to enter. The entry queue is surrounded by gardens in which farmers will cultivate over 60 French agricultural specialties of three varieties: polyculture and livestock, and specialty crops and vegetables, and grain crops. The juxtaposition of the visitors and the gardens they stand between calls to mind an interdependence between producers and consumers. Finally, as guests approach the green arched entrance they are confronted with interactive displays on sustainable agriculture and the key role of research, one of the four thematic pillars of the pavilion. These ever-changing displays are projected from 3 LED screens and illustrate the history, diversity, and possibilities of French agriculture
Passage through the arch and into the pavilion results in a sensory bombardment. The concave roofs are thatched with plant life and other traditional French products. Between the live vegetation and the transitory projections, the pavilion creates a contrast between old and new, traditional and innovative. This interaction, together with the sheer abundance of food, inspires a sense of symbiosis between man, science and nature. Just as in nature, the pavilion morphs to the eye of the beholder; it can resemble a hall, barn, beehive or laboratory depending on one’s perspective.
Practically speaking, there is much to do once inside. Businesspeople can reserve conference, dining, and performance rooms for private events. The general public can eat, drink, shop, and observe at the indoor café, bakery, boutique and performance area. But even the leisurely and pleasurable pastimes within the pavilion serve to reinforce the metaphorical pillars upon which it was based; the eating establishments and stores emphasize pleasure and health through the sale of French origin products and promotion of the pleasure of cooking and balanced nutrition. Before exiting visitors will encounter an abundance of insightful slogans that put the entire experience into perspective: together man and nature will thrive if we ‘produce more and produce better.’
To learn more about the French pavilion at Expo Milano 2015, please visit its official English website.