The four Swiss towers in Expo Milano 2015 have become famous: practically everyone has read or heard about the outstanding concept behind the four tall storage towers at the heart of the Swiss Pavilion, filled with water, salt, coffee and sliced apple. All visitors were welcome to help themselves to take as much as they would of any of these commodities: the only limit was that set by their own sense of responsibility, since none of the towers would have their stocks replenished over the six months of Expo.
The ground floor exhibits: a storehouse of discoveries
But the four towers were not the only good reason to visit the Swiss Pavilion. The ground floor – where there was no need to make a reservation – contains various fascinating installations.
The first was a space organized by the partner company Nestlé through its research centers and in collaboration with the Italian Auxology Institute (dedicated to the study of physical growth). This focused on the interaction between diet and mind. It started with a room which represented the maternal womb: a very dimly lit space (the fetus develops sight only in the last part of gestation), where the mother’s heartbeat and breathing could be heard. From here the visitor passed into a room which explored the optimal balanced diet through an interactive game and explained how the human body evolves during the 1,000 days from conception onwards and how this is influenced by the mother’s diet. In the last room, the relationship between sight and taste was explored, and information could be interactively obtained concerning the most healthy lifestyles. The fundamental message of all this was that DNA is not alone in determining our lives, because our genetic features can be differently activated according to the adequacy of our diet.
The exhibition of the four cantons of the Saint-Gotthard Massif (Grisons, Uri, Ticino and Valais) bore the title “Water for Europe”, because this massif (known as “Europe’s Water Castle”) contained the sources of four great European rivers: the Reuss, the Rhine, the Rhone and the Ticino. At the center of the space there was a huge marble monolithic model from which water flowed away through channels in the floor representing the great rivers. The walls were covered with panoramic photos of the Swiss valleys.
The Pavilion was completed by a section on the cities (Zurich, Basel and Geneva).
A taste of the Alps
Switzerland’s gastronomic heritage was expressed through two options: the Swiss Terrace, a gourmet restaurant with a fine selection of Swiss wines, and Street Food, which offered the classic Raclette on wooden tables in the open air (sheltered from the rain). The Swiss Pavilion did not forget about younger visitors: it offered them a playspace and a chocolate workshop space.