1906-2015: towards Milan Expo

1906-2015: towards Milan Expo

March 14, 2011  |  Exhibit

The exhibition that the Expo has entrusted to us has been an adventure of great emotion and intensity.
Looking back at all the Expos that have been held, the themes they covered, the memories that they have left behind, is like revisiting the key moments of the last two centuries.
In the Expos humanity represents itself and its own vision of the future.
This exhibition aims to recount to the public what the Expos have been like up to today and what kind of challenge Milan has set itself, proposing a theme so fraught with vision and possibility.
What we attached most importance to was to offer different and effective levels of interpretation in terms both of time and of content. It is possible to see the exhibition in ten minutes or spend an hour there, and in both cases the visitor will take something valuable away.
At the beginning of the exhibition, with the story of the 1906 Expo, we see images of various pavilions that bear witness to the industrial nature of the innovations and the works of architecture created for the occasion. A document of the Milan of that time which has never been shown before, the montage of a film clip made by the famous director and photographer Luca Comerio, shows us men pulling carts, the first streetcars, few automobiles in the streets, squares packed with people, a motorcyclist dressed in overall and helmet setting off at great speed and, at the end, balloons rising into the air: they were taking part in a race organized for the 1906 Expo between balloons and sports cars.

We seem to see a Milan ready to enter the modern era. A long timeline on which are indicated all the Expos from 1851 to the present day ends with a note reminding us of the radical change that has taken place, in particular with the last four Universal Expositions:

1998 Lisbon (“The Oceans, a Heritage for the Future”)
2000 Hanover (“Humanity, Nature, Technology”)
2005 Aichi (“Nature’s Wisdom”)
2010 Shanghai (“Better City–Better Life”)

There has been a shift from “a manufactured future to an imagined future.” The reference is no longer to unlimited progress, but to thinking about a sustainable future for the planet and for people.
“Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” fits in completely with this logic, and the large wall entitled “Food is Much More than a Simple Means of Feeding People” is a well-organized and accessible exploration of the theme of the event and its focus.
This beautiful piece of work conceived by Expo Milan 2015 in collaboration with the Density Design Lab of Milan Polytechnic represents a map of the complex range of meanings associated with the title. What is most striking, when you start out from each of the themes and go on to read the stages of the process that has generated them, is the quantity and variety of subjects that are dealt with. It is as if, even if we just pick a few items at random, the exhibition were opening up to an infinity of accounts that reveal to us new possibilities of work, what the culture of food signifies, the technologies that need to be invented, political implications and many other aspects. This precious map represents a generator of awareness and at the same time a compass that helps us to discover how many routes can be followed and which might concern or interest us most.
The next stage is Italy and has the title “The Richness of Variety.” On a ?table/board? almost ten meters long, in the shape of the country, are projected animations that describe in sequence the villages, nature and parks of Italy, the expanse of its coastline, the fishing industry and the agricultural and food industry, while at the same time data relating to the subjects is shown on a large screen.

Multimedia installation “Italia, a wealth of variety“, inside at exhibit.

The result is a vivid representation and an immediate perception of our potentiality as a nation. These data help us develop an awareness in terms both of understanding at a personal level and of the comprehension of reality on which to base new plans for the future.
Speaking of food, this “richness of variety” in relation to biodiversity, the stock of knowledge and innovation makes Italy the country with the most incredible vocation for this Expo.
Drawing closer to the location of the event itself, Lombardy is presented as a large agricultural territory that expresses a vitality of great force: the agriculture of the Po Valley and the technology of production; Milan, which has been given the title “The Intelligence of Doing,” represents the laboratory where creativity, innovation and hospitality create a mix of relations that makes it the ideal center from which to look to the future.
The Expo is represented through a series of impressions that recount its thematic routes and possible installations, and the section concludes with a series of reflections on what may be the legacy of this unique occasion that will see the whole world facing up to our future.
The last stage brings us back to a simple and powerful emotion and is entitled “The Bread of the World.” It is a room filled with pictures of thirty kinds of bread from all over the world and their recipes, while a table is covered with real loaves of bread, each of a different shape and taste.
The intense fragrance of bread and an enormous michetta (the typical Milanese bread roll) suspended in space connect us emotionally with the origin of the Expo’s theme, through a universal symbol of food.

Aldo Cibic


Visit the page about “Italia, a wealth of variety“, the multimedia installation realized at the exhibit.

They talk about us: Expo2015, Expovillage2015, Scelte Sostenibili, Triennale, Ultrafragola, Undo.


Verso Expo Milano 2015,
an exhibit by Expo 2015 S.p.A.

Aldo Cibic, Maria Antonietta Crippa e Sandro Fusina
Aldo Cibic, Chuck Felton e Tommaso Corà
Facci & Pollini: Federico Corallo, Riccardo Facci, Filippo Fontanel e Ivan Frigo
Chuck Felton
Aldo Cibic, Maria Antonietta Crippa, Ferdinando Zanzottera, Sandro Fusina, Ricky Burdett
Aldo Bonomi, Andrea Argentieri, Susana Chae, Tiziana Cipelletti, Silvia Conz, Dario Freguia, Luigi Fumagalli
Politecnico di Milano, Polo di Lecco − Laboratorio prototipi
1a100 – architectural models mockup
Photo sources
Civica Raccolte Stampe Archivio Bertarelli, Milano Civico Archivio Fotografico, Biblioteca del progetto − La Triennale di Milano, ISAL Istituto per la Storia dell’Arte Lombarda, Volume “Cronaca illustrata dell’esposizione”, Milano, Fratelli Treves Editori (1906)
Video sources
Fondazione Cineteca Italiana
Global theme illustration
Density Design Research Lab Dipartimento INDACO Politecnico di Milano
Photo exhibition
Fabrizio Marchesi
Professional English Advisor

Thanks to
Parco Tecnologico Padano − Federalimentare − CRA Consiglio per la Ricerca e la sperimentazione in Agricoltura dell’Università degli Studi di Milano, Facoltà di Agraria − IUSS Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori di Pavia − ISAL Istituto per la Storia dell’Arte Lombarda − Aldo Bonomi, sociologo − Mita Lapi, fisico ambientale − Gioia Gibelli, architetto del paesaggio − Rocco Princi − Urso Chappell, www.expomuseum.com − Mach 2 Azione

Cibicworkshop is the research center founded by Aldo Cibic.

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