German Pavilion almost ready for business / Expo Milano 2015 opens in two weeks on 1 May
Two weeks ahead of the opening of Expo Milano 2015, Matthias Machnig, State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy with responsibility for Germany’s involvement in the Expo, presented the German Pavilion “Fields of Ideas” at a press conference held at the Italian Embassy in Berlin. The building is in the final phase of its preparation, After some remarks on the German presence at the exhibition, Mr Machnig presented the pavilion concept, both in terms of its content and its architecture, and parts of the cultural programme that will accompany the six-month exhibition. Under the motto “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, the 148 participating nations and organisations are being challenged to showcase their ideas for sustainable ways to feed the world.
“Going with the theme of the World Exposition, the ‘Fields of Ideas’ pavilion is presenting ideas and solutions from Germany, resulting from initiatives and projects that have their origins in the worlds of politics, research, economics and civil society. Visitors can look forward to over 100 exciting exhibition stands,” says Machnig, explaining the German approach. His organisation has been working on the German presentation in Milan for over three years. “It is important to us to present a picture of Germany that is open, warm, friendly and whimsical. German Pavilions are always a crowd puller at World Expositions and are an investment in the future,” continues Machnig. Up to three million visitors are expected at the German Pavilion.
The “Fields of Ideas” present a vibrant, fertile landscape full of ideas. With the different wood tones, the fully accessible outside area, which is the landscape level of the German Pavilion, picks up on the appearance of the typical German field and meadow landscape. Alongside thematic stations about all the German states, visitors have the opportunity to make use of the picnic area to relax and enjoy themselves and a panoramic view over the Expo grounds that reaches all the way to the Alps if the weather is good. The exhibition itself covers the areas of Soil, Water, Climate, Biodiversity, Food and “My garden of Ideas”. The first four areas raise visitors’ awareness of the forces of nature as an important source of our food and how crucial it is to protect nature and to use it intelligently. The remaining two areas highlight the world of consumption and production and also focus on civil society’s commitment to sustainable nutrition.
Visitors will also be encouraged to interact as part of the exhibition. “We have designed the pavilion around the motto ‘Be active’ because the German Pavilion gives impulses that should continue to have an effect long after the visit is over,” explains Peter Redlin, Creative Director from Milla & Partner, who is responsible for the concept of the exhibition. “We give visitors something to accompany them, the ‘SeedBoard’. This will ensure that they have a very special exhibition experience. They can use it to control media displays, start films and to navigate through diverse content. The ‘SeedBoard’ acts as a projection surface for text and pictures.”
The active inclusion of the visitors culminates in the show at the end of the exhibition. Here, they are presented with a new, interesting and surprising perspective. They see Germany through the eyes of flying bees, which they accompany as they fly over the country. In two large, stylised bee eyes they discover Germany’s vibrant and fertile landscape and its active and committed residents. Two musicians, a guitarist and a beatboxer, direct the live show from the centre of a round room. They are the “BeeJs”. The public becomes the orchestra as they generate sounds and natural noises with their hands, their voices and their “SeedBoards”. “In this way, they make the sounds themselves, creating a diverse and entertaining picture landscape,” says Redlin.
Overall, the German presence is characterised by a strong dovetailing of content and architecture. During the construction phase, for which the Nüssli Company was responsible, the pavilion already conveyed sustainable and creative approaches that echoed the issues raised by the World Exposition. The modern steel and membrane design makes it possible to create an extremely light construction with a resulting reduction in material usage. The 185-strong workforce who constructed the pavilion used a total of around 800 tons of steel, 2,500 m2 of wood and 2,500 m2 of membrane. In addition to this, some 700 lamellas were used throughout the exhibition to separate the different themed areas from each other. Laid end-to-end, the lamellas would have a length of almost four kilometres.
The central design element of the German Pavilion is the “Idea Seedlings”, stylised plants that sprout aloft from the exhibition, unfolding their leafy canopy over the pavilion. They are powered using a special photovoltaic technology. “The German Pavilion is the first major international architectural project where these innovative products have been deployed. Unlike with traditional solar modules, we, as the architects of the German Pavilion, had the possibility of not just using an existing technology but of taking the flexible, film-integrated, organic photovoltaic modules and moulding them, based on our own vision, to create an optimum appearance and integrating them into the overall design of the pavilion,” says Lennart Wiechell, Senior Architect and Managing Partner at Schmidhuber. The printed circuit tracks of the hexagonal modules are laminated on both sides and are suspended with clips from a filigree steel network that carries the power from the cells. The power creation resulting from this technology is comparable with that of traditional solar panels with the difference that the modules work in all cardinal directions. Power results even under diffused light conditions. The power that is harvested during the day is collected in an innovative storage system at the foot of the five Idea Seedlings and provides the energy for a powerful LED ring light that illuminates these “Solar Trees” from below during the night. It is a self-contained energy cycle, just as is found in nature. By powering themselves, the “Solar Trees” help lower the external energy needs of the building and thus conserve natural resources.
Alongside the exhibition and the architecture, the cultural programme is also oriented didactically towards the concept of the pavilion. “Fields of Cultures, Growing Ideas. Germany, Surprising. Exceptional”. The Frankfurt agency Voss+Fischer has put the programme together. It encompasses the whole pavilion from the roof, over the stage on the “German Piazza” and out to the waiting area in front of the exhibition. The programme focusses on the young creative and culture scene, continuing the theme of an innovative and surprising Germany. The programme consists of the “Fields of Literature”, “Fields of Theatre”, “Fields of Film”, “Fields of Dance”, “Fields of Music” and “Fields of Games” – echoes of the name of the pavilion, “Fields of Ideas”. Across the different genres, the agency works together with German actors, such as the Goethe Institute, and various film festivals. Amongst the well-known musical acts that will be appearing are Roger Cicero, Laith Al-Deen, Glasperlenspiel, Nevio Passaro and Mrs. Greenbird.
You can find more information about the artists and the cultural programme on the German Pavilion’s homepage at:
Background information on the German Pavilion at the 2015 World Exhibition in Milan
Large-scale, universal world exhibitions are held every five years in rotation with smaller expos. The upcoming World Expo in Milan follows Shanghai (2010), Aichi (2005) and Hanover (2000). Expo 2015 showcases the theme “Feeding the planet, energy for life”. It dispenses with prestigious monumental buildings, presenting itself rather as a sustainable Agrofood Park. The German Pavilion “Fields of Ideas” has the motto “Be active”.
On behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, Messe Frankfurt has been entrusted with the organisation and running of the German Pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milan. The design, planning and realisation of the German Pavilion have been taken on by the ARGE, a consortium made up of Milla & Partner (Stuttgart), Schmidhuber (Munich) and Nüssli Deutschland (Roth near Nuremberg). Milla & Partner is responsible for the content concept as well as the design of the exhibition and media. Schmidhuber is responsible for the pavilion’s spatial concept, its architecture and general planning and Nüssli for project management and construction. The Expo site is being built close to the existing Milan exhibition centre.
The world exhibition will remain open for six months – from 1 May to 31 October 2015.
For more information, please visit our website at www.expo2015-germany.de