The Expo Blog is a space for posts on the history, themes, legacies and experience of Expos. It includes articles from the BIE and external contributors.
The long term architectural contribution of an Expo to the city in which it took place – its legacy – is of significant interest to residents and visitors to the city. Planning the physical legacy of the Expo as part of the transformation that it brings to the city is a prerequisite to hosting a successful Expo.
Zaragoza’s iconic Bridge Pavilion (Pabellón Puente), designed by Zaha Hadid for Expo 2008, is one such monument that continues to stand to this day. It reopened to the public on 6 May 2016 and will remain open until 6 November. The pedestrian bridge is open from Monday to Sunday from 10am to 2pm and from 5pm to 9pm.
As the home of the Triennale di Milano, the Palazzo dell’Arte is a permanent edifice to the Italian design tradition as well as its modern day hub. The Palazzo, which is also known as the Palazzo della Triennale or the Palazzo Bernocchi, features research centres, conference rooms, bookshops, theatres, restaurants and a bar. It is located at the heart of the Italian design scene in Parco Sempione in Milan.
The history of the Palazzo dell’Arte goes back to Italian senator and philanthropist Antonio Bernocchi, who was a leading figure in the Italian textile industry. The Bernocchi brothers’ company, Bernocchi SpA, commissioned the Luminator Bernocchi, an innovative lamp that was both a work of art and a practical solution to illuminate garments from above without burning the fabric. The Luminator, which was designed by Luciano Baldessari, was showcased in the Italian Pavilion at the 1929 World Expo in Barcelona, and its success as an object of industrial design inspired the idea behind the establishment of a museum dedicated to design as well as art.
If the Century 21 Exposition, which took place in Seattle in 1962, was mainly aimed at promoting American scientific research and its leadership in spatial exploration, it was also the place for the shooting of a musical produced by Metro Goldwyn Mayer headlined by the famous actor and singer Elvis Presley. The plot of "It happened at the World's Fair" produced by Norman Taurog, takes place on the Seattle World Fair's site in a scenery which is both futuristic and very representative of the American 60's society. We follow the adventures of two friends, Danny and Mike, who decide to go to the World's Fair to find a job because of their debts.
The film crew arrived in Seattle on 5th September 1962, when the Expo had already been in full swing for five months. This date was not chosen randomly because it was precisely the start of the school year. The director wanted to avoid as much as possible scenes of massive hysteria caused by teenage fans of the "King". Unfortunately for him, young people from around tried by all means to come closer to their idol. Actually, there are numerous stories from fans: series of fainting, snatches of conversation with Elvis, or, for Sue Waters, an 18 year old lucky girl, four dates with the King.
Oftentimes, when I talk to people about world's fair history, it's seen as something far in the past. However, history still happens and we're a part of it. Creating the Expo 2015+100 Archive, I've accumulated items and stories about this year's world's fair to share with the future, specifically 2115. What can be most fascinating, however, is that we don't always know what will be important to future historians.
When I was 15 and attended the 1982 World's Fair in Knoxville, Tennessee, USA, the organizers had publicized the introduction of milk that needed no refrigeration. It was perceived, at the time, as the "big invention" that people would remember from the expo. Meanwhile, the United States Pavilion was using the first touch screen monitors to help tell their story about energy. Until then, only researchers had access to this technology. Today, nearly everyone on the Expo 2015 site has that technology in their pocket in the form of a smart phone. In 1982, though, touch screen technology was considered just an interesting novelty.
Expo 2015 starts on May 1st, but it's already time to preserve the present for the future.
Normally, I live in San Francsico, but since September, I've been in Milan witnessing firsthand as the city as prepares to host a world's fair. As usual before an expo, people aren’t quite sure what to expect and it’s sometimes a challenge to help the public visualize what the experience will be like as the pavilions are still taking shape. Even to Expo organizers, there are hidden gems in the individual pavilions that won’t become apparent until opening day.