Milan, Italy — The first module of the Fruit and Legumes Cluster has been put in place. Within a few weeks the entire structure – which includes 9 modules – will be completed and the Cluster will appear as it was intended. This special Pavilion, which will include among others, Gambia, Guinea, Benin, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Zambia, Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan, will be developed in an area of over 3,700 square meters, including an exhibition space of 1,125 square meters and an events area exceeding 500 square meters.
Inside there will be areas cultivated with fruit trees of various types; while a central square, with a wooden roof, resembling a pergola, will host events. Between this and the next Cluster to be built, “The World of Spices”, there will be a market open to all visitors, forming a link between the two types of produce – fruits and spices.
Behind the development of the Cluster content is the University Vita Salute San Raffaele in Milan and Roberto Mordacci, scientific coordinator of research.
James Ogul, former US State Department official and Expo consultant to InPark tells us:
“It has been common practice at World’s Fairs to offer spaces in common buildings to smaller countries that lack the budget to build their own pavilion. Traditionally these common buildings have been organized by regions of the world, for example” Africa, South America, Southeast Asia, etc. But Expo Milano will be taking a new approach. Yes there will be common buildings, nine of them to be exact, but participants will be grouped by common themes and food groups to which they belong. The nine themes and food groups are Rice, Cocoa, Coffee, Fruits and Legumes, Spices, Cereals and Tubers, Bio-Mediterraneum, Islands, Sea and Food and Arid Zones. I can see a value to this approach in that it will allow visitors to see both the commonality and difference in approaches to growing, harvesting and consuming specific foods throughout the world and the unique challenges and opportunities in unique climate zones. The down side is that many visitors like to imagine they are on a “world tour” when they visit an expo and they like to seek out particular countries of interest. That will not be as easy in this model.”
Danilo Signorello describes the Clusters in INTERNI60:
Rice Cluster – Politecnico di Milano, Tongji University (China), National University of Hanoi (Vietnam): this stems from the allure of images of flat and terraced rice paddies: water, green, gold. A hall in which architecture disappears and is camouflaged: there is only nature, landscape to be surrounded with.
Cocoa Cluster – Politecnico di Milano, USI Università della Svizzera Italiana, Instituto Tecnológico de Monterrey ITESM (Mexico): the idea was an allegorical reproduction of the landscape where cocoa grows, areas with luxuriant vegetation, trees that grow from the soil and lean on buildings.
Coffee Cluster – Politecnico di Milano, University of São Paulo (Brazil), University of Nairobi (Kenya): a large area aiming to reproduce the habitat of coffee that grows in the area of the great rainforest, with its colours and perfumes.
Fruit and Legumes – Politecnico di Milano, The Bezalel Academy (Israel), Cape Peninsula University, Cape Town (South Africa): this conveys the idea of a nature strongly affected by humans, a place with the shape of a city, unitary halls like large wooden cases, fruit containers that tell this story. Trees and a developing geometrical fruit garden that will change during the six months of the event.
Spice Cluster – Politecnico di Milano, IUAV Venice, NID National Institute of Design (India): the cultural, sensory and olfactory experience becomes real and actual. The fruit of the earth is sold and tasted here, by means of a total involvement of the senses (perfumes, tastes, colours, textures of some spice varieties).
Bio-Mediterranean Cluster – Politecnico di Milano, II Università degli Studi di Napoli, American University in Cairo (Egypt): the challenge was to represent a culture, by making a hall in a symbolic shape. To hint at the Mediterranean culture, a system of white pinnacles on the top recalls the landscape of Mediterranean cities.
Sea and Islands Cluster – Politecnico di Milano, Aalto University (Finland), University of Tokyo (Japan): this is the smallest cluster, conceived as an island to find a moment of peace and restoration. It provides coasts where to land when navigating among the various halls.
Arid Zones Cluster – Politecnico di Milano, ETSAM Escuela Técnica Superior de Arquitectura de Madrid (Spain), Birzeit University (Palestine): what is the main feature of these areas? The lack of water. Therefore what is being shown is a ‘lack’, a suspended dimension, frailty. Stones in the sand, sharp splinters and dust storms.
Cereals Cluster – Politecnico di Milano, Parsons School of Design (New York, USA) and MARKHI – Moscow Institute of Architecture (Russia): a narrative itinerary leading from the cultivation of land to the seeds produced, their consumption which reaches its apex in the big fireplace, in the big oven, in the big hut which is the final symbol of this cluster.
In all nine clusters, architecture becomes the setting, a simple and direct translation of the food theme.
CONCEPTUAL ARTWORK and PHOTO courtesy EXPO Milano 2015.