In the US Pavilion, the most noticeable aspect was certainly the vertical garden. The large wall was divided into motorized panels so they were always turned towards the sun. The system allowed nourishment to over 40 varieties of vegetables, plants, cereals and herbs through a hydroponic system that also recovered the water. Inside there was an arrangement of hanging pots equipped with a system of lights capable of stimulating the growth of plants.
The theme of the Pavilion – American Food 2.0: United to Feed the Planet – referred to the desire to display solutions for the food of the future. No less important was the call to action: Be one in 9 billion, calling every visitor to take individual responsibility and contribute to ensuring access to food. The request was even replicated on the waterfall outside through the use of water jets set at different speeds, creating a type of falling water writing.
Voices of Native Americans welcomed visitors, who walk the Coney Island Boardwalk
The access ramp to the exhibition area was made using reclaimed wood from the Coney Island boardwalk that was destroyed by Hurricane Sandy. It was made from rare types of tropical wood such as Ipe and Cumaru, which were imported from Guyana and Brazil during the construction of the boardwalk. When visitors passed by, they heard voice recordings of Native Americans giving thanks for the gifts of the earth.
The ramp sloped up to the first floor (Boardwalk Level), where, in a video, President Barack Obama shared the Pavilion’s message: We all can do something to contribute to the right to food. Visitors were then guided into “Global Wealth with Diversity”: here a series of videos depicted, with interactive exhibitions, American innovation in agriculture, politics, cooking, nutrition, industry and research. On the Boardwalk Level, there was also an interactive game on food security, and visitors could enjoy looking for creative solutions.
On the ground floor, seven videos illustrated the Great American Foodscape
Back on the ground floor, visitors were guided through the “Great American Foodscape” experience: a journey in the history and culture through seven animated videos one minute in length (grouped under the title: Farm to table) projected on a faceted surface. Visitors learned how the typical traditions of immigrants were transformed by American habits. They also found original American culinary culture, such as BBQ, food on the go, and a Thanksgiving Day menu. Before the Pavilion’s exit, there was a collection of photos dedicated to US regional cuisine with license plates from all the states.
A large terrace with an American bar and spectacular views
The Pavilion was completed by the roof terrace, one of the largest at Expo Milano 2015, where there was an American bar serving drinks, snacks and apple pies. The covering was made with SPD-SmartGlass panels, able to adapt the degree of transparency to the intensity of sunlight, protecting visitors from summer temperatures.
For those who want to eat more, the USA Pavilion had setup a Food Truck Nation serving typical street food dishes in trucks (in collaboration with the sponsor Fiat Chrysler Automobiles), offering many flavors of America: from the typical Maine lobster rolls, to BBQ snacks, hamburgers and a variety of classic desserts (like the cheesecake).