The Complexity of a Country at the Cross-roads of East and West


The eye-catching Azerbaijan Pavilion at Expo Milano 2015 is particularly striking for its complexity, reflecting a country where diverse cultures meet, and where human history took its first steps.
At the entrance, a statue of an over-sized candy provides a sweet welcome to the visitors. A rectangular building containing glass spheres, one of which can be seen from the outside, provide a metaphor for a country that is at home with, and works to protect its biodiversity.
While the first of these biospheres represents the country’s many terrains, the second illustrates its nine climate zones, while the third provides an overview of Azerbaijan’s cultural traditions and its innovative potential.
Each of the pavilion’s three levels focuses on one aspect of the country’s strengths: its natural resources, its agriculture, and its manufacturing capabilities.
Music and flowers wherever they go
Another distinctive feature of the Azerbaijan pavilion is a sculpture of an upturned pomegranate tree that rises through the two floors. At the top, are nineteen real pomegranate trees.
Upon entering, visitors immediately find themselves in a magical location, complemented by flowers and music. On the ground floor, the country’s many and diverse landscapes are beamed from video-screens framed in musical instruments. Music is, indeed, an important feature of Azerbaijani life, with the Tar, a long-necked string musical instrument, being a part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity list.
Music accompanies visitors up the escalator to the next floor where plastic flowers in nine colors symbolize the nine climatic regions enjoyed by Azerbaijan, one of the few countries in the world to have so many.
A dynamic map
Looking down from above, one sees a light sculpture in the shape of an eagle flying from East to West, while colors and lights illustrate a number of themes.
On video screens attached to the upturned tree sculpture, visitors can see videos depicting the typical professions of the Azerbaijani people. The message being conveyed is that Azerbaijan’s real strength lies in its people and their skills, and these will be instrumental in driving the country’s social progress.