Through 1362 sq meters of exhibition space, the Czech Republic will present its dynamic scientific force by creating a sensory experience mixing multimedia innovations and artistic installations. Thus creating a true "Laboratory of life."
Jiří František Potužník, Commissioner General of the Pavilion of the country at Expo Milan 2015, tells us more about the project.
Water plays an important role in the pavilion, could you explain this choice?
Jiří František Potužník : For the Czech Republic, water is more than just a symbolic element: my country is the watershed of Europe and tens of thousands of streams and rivers, natural lakes and manmade ponds, healing baths and mineral springs are signed on the face of all regions. In addition to that, clean water is an essential condition for high quality agriculture and food production. Our famous Czech beer is an example of that! Supplying the world with drinking water is also one of the subtopics of EXPO 2015, so it made great sense for us to include the element of water in our exhibition.
Innovation is the second key word of the Pavilion. Could you tell us about the Czech Republic's leading role in biochemical and nanotech research and about the major projects you will present at Expo 2015?
Science and research are qualities that the Czech Republic can spread around the world – especially in the field of biochemistry and nanotechnology. Czech scientists have made discoveries that help solve major problems on all continents. The Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry focuses on lifestyle diseases such as obesity or cardiovascular disease. Another example is the company Nafigate that can make a fiber one thousand times thinner than a human hair, thanks to the patented nanospider, or produce air and water purifying filters that work quickly and ecologically. We will also showcase the secrets of the genetic codes of agricultural crops or new drugs for livestock that are more effective than antibiotics.
One of the major innovations of the pavilion is developed by students of the ČVUT (Czech Technical University in Prague). They have created a multimedia system that mixes hi-tech and botanics. Could you tell us about this project?
The project combines modern design, hi-tech and botanical know-how. It is patronized by the Ministry of Industry and Trade and its ambition is to celebrate the great tradition of audiovisual shows that Czechs presented in recent World Expos, but also to present the potential of our students.
The system will create a powerful experience: visitors will enter a Czech forest, and when they stop and quiet down, little robots and fine optics will allow them to see plants on a molecular level. Once the spell of this "Laboratory of silence" disappears, we hope visitors will leave with the feeling that man is only but a small part of nature.
Could you tell us about the pavilion design and visitor experience?
Designed by Chybik + Kristof Associated Architects studio, the pavilion is reminiscent of the tradition of Czech functionalism (pragmatism), but uses modern technology and sustainable materials. Water is an important element of the pavilion. We have created a mirror of water in front of the building, thus giving the optical illusion that the pavilion grows from the water.
Inside, three main areas of the pavilion will provide three experiences. The first, called "Fantasy and Fairy tale land" will express the bohemian spirit through a 360 sensory experience mixing the four elements with art, design, food and science. In the second space, "Laboratory of Life", visitors will discover a real laboratory where Czech researchers and scientists, together with artists, will introduce them to the wonders of the sub-molecular world through art and interactive apps. "Laboratory of Silence", the third area, will offer visitors an amazing show thanks to the students' multimedia project mentioned earlier.
The movement of visitors will be free and comfortable and the pavilion attractive and welcoming. There will also be a pub with draught Pilsner Urquell, a VIP restaurant and a nice view of the Expo site.
The pavilion will be recyclable, have you found a new use for it after the Expo?
Assembled by KOMAR modular construction, the pavilion is fully modular, erected thanks to a few cubic meters of concrete. It will disappear from the Expo site as quickly as it grew, leaving the ground and soil clean. The pavilion has already attracted investors from the Czech Republic and Italy as well as from other countries, because it can be easily adapted to a new purpose. But the final decision of the new location has not been made yet.
Do you see Expo as a place to share best practices on the issue of nutrition and develop new cooperation ties with countries?
In my personal opinion this is the whole point of Expo. I'm not a fan of expositions that ignore the theme of the Expo and focus only on tourism or commercial activities. Therefore I am trying to establish closer cooperation with the European Commission's Joint Research Center in Ispra (Italy) and to organise workshops on additional topics such as nuclear and space research.
For more information on the pavilion visit the official website.