Attract, inform and captivate: the three objectives (and areas) in which the Belgian Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 was divided. It was inspired by the classical shapes of a farm (it reminded us of the form of Cascina Triulza), with its simple lines in wood and glass. The roof was covered by integrated cutting edge solar panels made with organic lightweight material that could capture even the slightest of sunrays. Thanks also to the vertical wind turbine at the entrance; the structure limited the maximum consumption of fossil fuels.
The smell of French fries attracted visitors
Belgium welcomed its visitors by attracting them through their stomachs, in fact, there was a picnic area outside the Pavilion with a street food corner, known to Expo Milano 2015 visitors for the scent of fries invading the Decumano that were served here with the mussels, the “moules & frites”. To end on a sweeter note the typical ginger biscuits were distributed at the entrance of the Pavilion. Here it was possible to discover the distinctive products of Belgium, first the beer, entering visitor’s minds with a wall as they passed by a wall made of stylized bottles. And it was also possible to learn more about the different regions of Belgium, a display case contained the reproduction of the Atomium, a monument made in steel designed for the Universal Exposition held in Brussels in 1958 and that later became a symbol of the city. Particularly interesting in this section was the corner dedicated to chocolate (dominated by the installation of a largecabosse), where the Master Chocolatiers created chocolate sculptures in an on-view laboratory and offered a chocolate for visitors to taste. On the way to the lowest level, there were display cases with jewelry (Belgium is famous for the diamond processing) inspired by the food themes, the result of a competition for young designers.
Insects, hydroponics, wild herbs: solutions for food in 2050
The second part of the exhibition, the cellar, led us into the Pavilion’s lowest level through a “corridor of time”, that showed the scenario envisioned from 2015 to 2050; what will we be eating? The cellar level was a kind of “laboratory for future solutions”: the systems presented included hydroponics and aquaponics (with authentic fish tanks), the use of insects (allowed in Belgium as an ingredient mixed with other flours) and the rediscovery of common wild plants.
A glass staircase (which of course referred to the shape of DNA) led upstairs; a large glass sphere with a terrace fascinated us with the beauty of contemporary Belgium. What was striking was the large suspended spiral that reminded of the great Royal Greenhouses of Laeken. The heart of this last section was a typical Belgian brewery that offerwd a wide selection of beers and covered by many copper pipes of different lengths and sizes. Here it was also possible to taste some typical Belgian fish and meat based dishes.