Championing the slow food

Expo 2015: Championing the Slow (Food) Movement

After Herzog & de Meuron dropped out of the running for the realization of their masterplan for Expo Milan 2015, they never imagined they would be back on site with another project. But starting this May they will be showcasing the work of Carlo Petrini’s Slow Food organisation with a pavilion that promotes the core principles of this year’s Expo - biodiversity, sustainable agriculture, and access to food that is good, clean and fair for all.

“We knew of Carlo Petrini’s resistance to participate in a show that would rather give exposure to the big agro business companies than to his slow food movement,” share Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron. “But Carlo Petrini has, since the beginning, been one of the most striking and interesting figures involved in the early planning and had therefore been one of the reasons of our own involvement. His radical intellectual and philosophical approach to the questions of biodiversity and food production was the main inspiration for our masterplan from where it could have inspired all national pavilions, public spaces and all other parts of the Expo.”

The Slow Food Pavilion will be situated in an area of 3,500 square meters at the eastern end of the Expo’s central boulevard, alongside the Mediterranean Hill. The scheme sees three built structures grouped around a central plaza, reminiscent of the rural Lombard farmsteads, subdivided into a theater, exhibition space and tasting area.

“Our architectural and curatorial proposal is based on a simple layout on tables which creates an atmosphere of refectory and market,” continues Herzog & de Meuron. “People can watch visual statements and read key texts about different consumption habits and their consequences for our planet, they can meet and discuss with exponents of sustainable agriculture and local food production to learn about alternative approaches, and they can smell and taste the richness of agricultural and food biodiversity.”

The design of the structure is intended to mirror the the contents it is hosting: simple, lightweight, low environmental impact and long lasting. A conscientious effort to promote agricultural production above architectural prowess.

After the Expo ends in October, the structures will be dismounted and reassembled as garden sheds in school gardens all over Italy as part of Slow Food’s educational initiative ‘Orto in Condotta’.

Photo Credits: Herzog & De Meuron

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