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Switzerland - Expo Milano 2015

Switzerland at the Exhibition Expo Milano 2015
© Michael Wahl
Architect(s) : Netwerch GmBH of Brugg

The project entitled "Confooderatio Helvetica" was developed by the architectural firm Netwerch. It was selected by a jury of experts in 2012 from 103 entries in an international competition organised by Presence Switzerland (FDFA). The team of young architects from Brugg convinced the experts with a clear message about individual responsibility, the need for fair distribution of food and sustainable development.

The 4,433 m2 Swiss Pavilion consists of a large open platform with four towers filled with foodstuffs that can be seen from a distance. After accessing the towers via lifts, visitors can help themselves to Swiss products. As the towers are emptied, the platforms on which they rest are lowered, thus changing the structure of the Swiss Pavilion. This transformation is recorded in real time and can also be followed through social media.

The Swiss Pavilion also includes the House of Switzerland, which consists of the following elements: the exhibition area of the Gotthard partner cantons dedicated to water, the Nestlé interactive exhibition area, the restaurant and take-away, the Swiss agriculture information stand, the partners' lounge and the auditorium, which hosts various events and conferences.

The Milan World Expo is a unique opportunity to showcase the performance of the Swiss food industry to an international audience. In the Swiss Pavilion restaurant, managed by Palexpo SA Geneva in collaboration with Agro-Marketing Switzerland (AMS), visitors have the opportunity to discover 100% Swiss quality products at competitive prices

The city exhibitions are located on the ground floor of the towers. Basel will open the Expo (1 May to 12 June 2015), followed by Zurich (17 June to 2 August) and Geneva will close the Expo (17 September to 31 October). The three cities will also present a joint exhibition on the theme of "Swiss Urban Food Innovation" (7 August to 12 September).

In addition, there will be a kiosk at the beginning of the entrance ramp, a platform between the towers and the House of Switzerland, an installation presenting the NRLA, and a Switzerland Tourism installation. Visitors to the Swiss Pavilion can also experience a virtual plant clinic. This is a project supported by the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC).

The Swiss Pavilion presents the main challenges of sustainable development and responsible consumption to the general public. It becomes a platform for dialogue and debate on the major global challenges in relation to the general objective of Expo 2015, namely: how to guarantee sufficient, safe and healthy food for the entire world population?

The towers

The towers are at the heart of the Swiss Pavilion. On a playful journey through the towers, visitors discover Switzerland, the diversity of its products and the values that underpin the success of the Swiss model. At Expo 2015 in Milan, Switzerland wants to appear as an active, responsible and supportive player in the field of food and sustainable development.

The journey through the tours follows the thread of personal experience, encouraging reflection on the availability of food in the world and on sustainable development along the entire food chain. Visitors can take away or consume as many products as they wish. Consumption behaviour and personal responsibility determine how much is left for the next person and for how long.

The selection of products for the tours was made on the basis of this fundamental objective and various concrete criteria, such as conservation, sustainability, climatic conditions, availability and the link with the Swiss food sector. The four products chosen for the tours - water, salt, coffee and apples - represent a sustainable, responsible, innovative and traditional Switzerland. The coffee - from the Swiss food industry - is a prime example of the innovative capacity and efforts of the public and private sectors to ensure sustainability along the entire coffee chain, from the coffee tree to the cup. Coffee has become Switzerland's number one food export, surpassing even chocolate and cheese. Apple slices - made from Swiss apples of various qualities - represent biodiversity, the ability to diversify and the fundamental role of agriculture in preserving the landscape; they are also an essential element of a healthy and natural diet. Salt - from the Swiss subsoil - is an essential component of food and industrial production. This vital product is used to inform the general public about initiatives to reduce salt consumption and to promote people's health and quality of life.

Water also plays an important role in the exhibition of the four Gotthard cantons, as it is the main theme of the events organised by the city of Zurich. The water for the tower comes from the local groundwater, which is connected to the water supply system of the Swiss Pavilion.

The main messages referring to the water tower emphasise its value as a resource. The tower is filled with cups decorated with a drawing explaining the water cycle and a friendly slogan. Visitors can use the cups for drinking water and then reuse them at Expo 2015 or at home. This structure is a way of introducing the general public to the challenges of sustainable water management, which is one of the major issues of the 21st century.

After the World Expo, the towers will have a second life as urban greenhouses in Swiss cities. It should be noted that 75% of the materials used in the Swiss Pavilion and the infrastructures can be reused after the event.