Clearly, the inauguration could only have been in the grandest style, with the voice of tenor Andrea Bocelli rousing the Piazza del Duomo, a parade of Hollywood faces celebrating Giorgio Armani’s 40 years in business with guests like Leonardo Di Caprio and Tom Cruise, and Puccini’s Turandot on stage at Teatro all Scala garnering a solid eleven minutes of applause. Italy has already played host to the World’s Fair, back in 1906, and now it is once again the world’s stage from May 1st to October 31st, with the largest event ever organized about nutrition. The exhibition area covers more than a million square meters, with over 140 countries and international organizations in attendance and more than 20 million visitors expected. “I have always valued the will to do, and I believe that Expo is an extraordinary moment for Milan and for Italy,” commented designer Armani, who is serving as Special Ambassador for Expo. Doing the honors is Foody, the mascot created by Disney Italia who presents the themes of the event in a positive and original light. Foody’s face is unique: it is composed of a family of eleven elements, each with its own characteristics and personality, representing an ideal of the synergy among countries of the world, called upon to address challenges in technology for a sustainable future. “The individual Participating Countries have erected a good 54 Pavilions, something that has never happened before,” said Giuseppe Sala, Sole Commissioner appointed by the government to Expo Milan 2015, in anticipation of the welcome speech on opening day. “This will be a Fair for families. We want lots of children to come learn about healthy eating, but without skipping the fun.”
And there is an innovative new way for countries without a pavilion of their own to take part: the Clusters. These are exhibition spaces that have moved beyond the traditional grouping by geographic criteria and instead are focused on different food segments. The nine Clusters – BioMediterraneum, Cereals and Tubers, Islands, Arid Zones, Fruits and Legumes, Spices, Coffee, Cocoa, and Rice – tell the history of foods through installations and tastings. They offer a concrete way to thoroughly explore the spirit of sharing embodied by the theme Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life, crafted by Chef Carlo Cracco, also an Ambassador to the Event: “I have brought the egg to Expo because of its shape, its content, and what it represents symbolically: life, birth, and wealth. It’simportant to understand who produces these ingredients and how, and why some turn out better than others. All of these questions are tied to the land: the soil, the air, where you are, and what is given to the earth, if it is given at all.”
There are four themed areas that interpret the subject of the event. We start with Pavilion Zero, conceived by Davide Rampello, who describes the history of humankind on Earth through food, and then projects into the future with the Future Food District, the supermarket of tomorrow, in which technology will give us greater transparency of information. Dietary education speaks to the young in Children’s Park, while the rich variety of ecosystems is recreated in the Biodiversity Park. In town, the Triennale building is host to Arts & Foods, the fifth theme area, which explores the relationship between art and food over the course of the centuries. A fantastic festival for enjoying oneself while learning, transforming the visitor’s experience into involvement, education, reflection, and knowledge, with the goal of leaving for humanity the intangible inheritance of an awareness of how to live better.