Simple, sustainable, ingenious: the Estonia Pavilion reflected the character of its young people. The wooden structure was a succession of box-shaped spaces, alternating with open spaces, each of which contained two swings. Estonia is in fact the country that invented the Kiik swings (there is also a tandem version), used for athletic competitions, and pavilion visitors could test them out at Expo Milano 2015. The energy the swings produce was also measured, for every five swings, the system transfered the energy to the cell phone chargers which were also available for visitors.
Rye bread, a symbol of the country
The centerpiece of the exhibition could be found on the upper levels, where typical Estonian food specialties were available. During the last few years, Estonian cuisine has been interpreted by the chef Peeter Pihel, whose dishes were displayed within the pavilion. In another box space we had the food that is the symbol of Estonian cuisine: rye bread. This particular grain, which accounts for just 1.5% of grain grown globally, is the most widely used by local bakers. Following this, guests could enter a box that reproduced the atmosphere of a birch forest. Thanks to the mirrors placed on the bottom, you could create an imaginative selfie.
Bike rides and choral singing: the two passions Estonian
The other boxes that composed the Pavilion were dedicated to the culture of the country: one offered views of the capital Tallinn (the images were renewed periodically alternating among different points of interest). Another showed a sport that has gained many followers in Estonia in recent years: cycling. It was possible to ride a bike through the capital of Estonia. Visitors could pedal a bike placed in front of a screen with a film showing the streets of the capital that was played back at a speed corresponding to how fast the rider was pedaling. Another interactive game told the story of Estonia: by turning a grindstone, the video projected successive images of artifacts used in different eras. Another box reminded visitors of the importance of music in the nation’s culture: the screen on the wall provided four tutorials for learning the steps of polka dances, and photos show images of the three-day Festival of dance and choral singing, which is held every five years with the participation of 40,000 artists.
A fully digital country
The last box was dedicated to modern Estonia, which is almost entirely digital. In this young country, digital signatures are used, saving tons of paper each year. In a large central space, there was a piano and a box that played various genres of Estonian artists. One final space contained a background perfect for a selfie. On the top floor, Estonia welcomed visitors with the songs of birds. The recordings were controlled via motion sensors, and the singing became more intense depending on the number of visitors. The nature theme continued with footage of animals found in Estonia.