Estonia

The pavilion of Estonia at Expo Milano 2015 will showcase the country's respect for nature, its organic food products and its impressive technological expertise.

To learn more about it, we have interviewed Mr. Ahti Kuningas, Commissioner General of the pavilion.

The name of the Estonian pavilion is "Gallery of__". What does it mean?

Mr. Ahti Kuningas: Our initial theme was "Landscape on a plate." It stood for two main topics: the healthy food we intend to bring to the Expo and the pure Estonian nature that can provide the food. But while developing our concept we added a third aspect: Information and Communication Technologies (ICT), which has led to the final name of the pavilion "Gallery of __".

Our pavilion will be like a gallery of nature and creativity. In Estonia, wild nature is unbelievably close to cities and therefore easily accessible for inhabitants. We have a generations' long tradition of harvesting food straight from the forest. The pavilion will also present the great advantages of innovative ICT. Using smart technologies allows us to save a lot of time and energy and preserve the environment. For example, using digital signature saves every month in Estonia a stack of paper as high as the Eiffel Tower and a week of working time per year.

All our guests will get a clear picture of the best that we have in Estonia on the topic of Expo Milano.

How is this theme translated in the pavilion?

The pavilion will be linked to the main theme on multiple levels. The construction of the pavilion will be sustainable. It will use wood from our forests and its modules will be recycled in Estonia after the Expo. Inside, the permanent exhibition, which will take place on the 1st and 2nd floors, will tell the story of natural Estonia with contemporary technology and design and a food programme hosted by talented chefs who will pay tribute to Estonia's raw organic ingredients.

What will be the main technological highlights of the pavilion?

We will bring to Milan our unique ICT expertise. Many countries are still considering using solutions we have had for 10 years. There are lot of technologies that can save so much time and energy every single day and we intend to present them.

The main technological attraction of our pavilion will be a swing that produces kinetic energy. By swinging, visitors will be able to produce energy, thus becoming active players of the pavilion. We will also take our guests on a journey inside the Estonian forests, live! We will present live pictures from bird nests and live voices from the forest.

Visitors will be able to taste Estonian cuisine, could you tell us about it?

We intend to showcase Estonian cuisine, high-quality raw Estonian ingredients and our chefs' knowledge, based on both the traditions of Estonian food and the principles of the New Nordic Cuisine.

On the 1st floor, an open kitchen and appetising bar will invite visitors to taste Estonian food. Lined with grass, the kitchen will have four sale points. The open kitchen will be staffed by Estonia's top chefs who will prepare fresh and wholesome food in front of visitors. There will also be a rye-themed snack bar on the second floor to introduce visitors to our most used grain.

What image of Estonia do you hope to leave in the minds of visitors?

Estonia is a blend of nature, pure ingredients and very modern information technologies. Thanks to these three elements, Estonia can offer a memorable visit to our tourists as well as a modern and convenient environment for business.

Visitors of the pavilion will be free to choose the activities, facts and stories to weave into their personal experience of Estonia. In any case it will be positive.

Sustainability is at the heart of the pavilion concept. Could you tell us about the materials and energy-saving techniques used and the life of the pavilion after the Expo?

The pavilion will be composed of wooden "nest boxes" stacked off-centre like cubes, forming the main volume of the building. The core elements in addition to nest boxes are the energy swings made of felt. After the end of the Expo, these modular-assembled elements and swings would travel back to Estonia and be used there as children's play grounds, natural viewing points or, for instance, bus stop shelters.