The Hive comes back to life in Kew Gardens

The Hive comes back to life in Kew Gardens

After ending its highly praised exhibition as the UK Pavilion at Expo 2015 Milan, The Hive, winner of the BIE gold medal for architecture and landscape (pavilions less than 2,000m2), is starting a new life in the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew, in London. The iconic structure will be open to the public tomorrow, Saturday 18 June.

Expo 2015 Milan was organised under the theme ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’, and the Hive was the centrepiece of the UK’s participation in the Expo. The pavilion, which received over 3 million visits during the Expo, was designed by renowned architect Wolfgang Buttress and was dedicated to the role of bees in carrying out pollination. The contribution of these insects as pollinators is necessary for the reproduction of many plant species, making bees crucial to the global ecosystem and to the food chain. The Hive’s message draws attention to the importance of protecting bee species.

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Expo 2015 Milan site reopens to public with Triennale exhibition

Expo 2015 Milan site reopens to public with Triennale exhibition

Over six months after Expo 2015 Milano closed its gates and international participants lowered their flags, the Expo site partially reopened today to host a range of activities for the summer period. Residents and visitors alike are now able to access a 19-hectare area of the site for free, with the key attraction being the ‘City after the City’ exhibition series, which is part of the six-month XX1 Triennale di Milano design fair.

The area, which has been dubbed ‘Experience rESTATEaMilano’, includes the central part of the Expo site featuring the symbolic Tree of Life as well as the Palazzo Italia and the Lombardy pavilion. The zone is open between 3pm-11pm on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays between 27 May and 30 September.

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History Still Happens: A Case Study (with Pizza and Pride)

History Still Happens: A Case Study (with Pizza and Pride)

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.

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Expo 2015+100

Expo 2015+100

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.

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Expo 2015's Organizers Reveal a Hint of Things to Come

In 1999, 2004, 2009, and now 2014, I've had the opportunity to experience an Expo city within a year of its debut on the world stage. In all four cases (Hannover's Expo 2000, Aichi's Expo 2005, Shanghai's Expo 2010, and Milan's Expo 2015), you get the feeling that the city doesn't quite know what to expect just yet. In all four cases, much of what's going to happen in the next year is still a mystery. What is this big event that has been in the planning on construction stage for years?

One of the challenges for Expo organizers is communicating to the public what to expect. The organizers of Expo 2015 have taken the step of creating the Expo Gate, a preview center that's open to the public. The temporary landmark, created by Scandurra Studio, is situated just outside Sforzesco Castle, which was part of the site of the 1906 Universal Exposition. It will also serve as a ticket center, conveniently located in the center of town.

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Putting Myself in the Path

As I type this, I’m in a metal tube hurdling across Baffin Bay (between Canada and Greenland) on my way from San Francisco to Milan.

After having been to nine world’s fairs (1982 Knoxville, 1984 New Orleans, 1986 Vancouver, 1998 Lisbon, 2000 Hannover, 2005 Aichi, 2008 Zaragoza, 2010 Shanghai, and 2012 Yeosu), and reported on them in newspapers, magazines, and on television, I decided that the time was right for me to actually live in a city as it prepares to host an international expositions. Like a tornado hunter, I’m putting myself in the path this time.

As it happens, Milan’s legacy of design and education coincides well with my own career needs. For years, I’ve worked in graphic design in marketing departments, so I’ll be pursuing a graduate degree in Visual Brand Design in the coming ten months.

This year, as folks in New York celebrate the 50th and 75th anniversaries of their iconic world’s fairs and San Francisco prepares to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the 1915 Panama-Pacific International Exposition, I’m hoping to bring attention to the medium as it exists today. World’s fairs are not dead.

Recently, America’s National Public Radio (NPR) featured a segment asking people the question “What would a world’s fair be like today?” Typically in reports like this, there’s at least a passing reference to the fact that world’s fairs still exist. They’re usually dismissed as not being as big or important as they used to be. Sadly, I think this is a symptom of the America-centric attitude we have: If they don’t happen here, they must not be important. By this logic, there hasn't been a Summer Olympics or a World Cup since the 1990's.

One of my hopes, while here, is to find a way to bring a world’s fair back to North America while bringing the excitement of Expo 2015 to Americans through the web.

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Walt Disney and World's Fairs, Part 3

When writing parts 1 and 2 about the connections between Walt Disney, the company he founded, and world's fairs, I hadn't planned on writing a part 3, but apparently, the story won't end just yet.

Every world's fair since 1984 has had a mascot, a character designed to anthropomorphize the ideals of the expo and appeal to younger guests. As you might imagine, it's a challenging and rewarding task and the most successful mascots go on to embody the expo and its ideals long after the event's closing day.

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Walt Disney and World's Fairs, Part 2

Walt Disney's greatest contribution to the world of world's fairs was at an event that wasn't officially recognized by the BIE, but nonetheless has gone on to become an important celebration and beloved memory for many in the United States: the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair.

Because the 1964-1965 New York World's Fair wasn't officially recognized by the BIE, participation by foreign countries was greatly reduced. To remedy that gap in content, the organizers chose to rely on corporations and US states more than would typically be done. At the same time, Walt Disney was looking for opportunities to connect with American corporations and let them "foot the bill" for his own artistic and technological experimentation.

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