My personal award for Best Concept at Expo 2015 Milano goes to the Monaco pavilion. It was one of the first pavilions I have visited and even after experiencing them all, I kind of struggled to find others that would embrace such a strong concept in a relatively circumscribed space. The reason for the success of this pavilion is the combination of innovative design and architecture, a great visitor’s experience related to the themes of Expo through edutainment and an important post-Expo heritage project.
Furthermore, one of the strong points of this pavilion is the excellence displayed by their staff. Professional, stylish and very well-prepared. This is not an easy task in the scorching hot summer of Milan and when seeing over 200.000 people every day… However, you’ll never see their staff out of line. This is a distinguished sign towards the quest of perfection when branding and presenting the image of a state to the world.
— marcoRecorder (@marcoRecorder) June 9, 2015
THE HANGAR OF IDEAS: VIRTUAL VOYAGE THROUGH THE THEMES AT EXPO
The entire Monaco pavilion has the goal of becoming a hangar of ideas. The space includes eleven distinct exhibition stations created entirely with wooden shipping crates to symbolize the projects that will be ready to be “shipped” around the world thanks to Expo 2015. Each station presents a different theme related to environmental protection, from sustainable fishing to deforestation, the jellyfish invasion and ocean acidification, as well as cooperative initiatives in Madagascar, Burkina Faso and Mongolia. The whole area combines the appearance of a typical warehouse with a maritime atmosphere: in fact, the pavilion uses sound effects reminiscent of the waves crashing on the beach, highlighting Monaco’s strong connection to the sea.The interior walls of the containers will conserve their original colours and the floor will stay grey and rough, reinforcing the idea of the world of transport and hangars.The entire exhibition area was designed as a free-flow space to reflect the multiplicity of points of view that exist around the themes of ecology and recycling. Visitors can select from different entrances and cross through the areas in different ways, moving freely through all of the interactive thematic stations.After the exhibition hall, visitors can then visit the restaurant area: the purpose of the architectural style is to maintain a totally continuous effect, and here the wooden crate theme returns once again.But then the atmosphere changes: we are no longer inside a warehouse but instead in the middle of a typical Monegasque market.
Recent scientific research has demonstrated a significant increase in the presence of jellyfish in the world’s oceans caused by the negative impacts of humans in the environment. In several areas this increase has caused interruptions in electric power plants, as well as damage to fisheries and tourist destination beaches. Visitors to this station have the possibility to expand their knowledge of this species through diverse multimedia supports. The visitor will be greeted by infographics presenting the consequences of the invasion in an approachable and intuitive manner, emphasizing how overfishing may contribute to the proliferation of jellyfish, which in turn could result in the end of fishing.
TRANSFORMING THE MONACO PAVILION INTO A TRAINING CENTER IN BURKINA FASO
As I mentioned earlier, one of the reason I award the Monaco pavilion for Best Concept is their post-Expo heritage. The pavilion, completely transformed (building and equipment), is at the heart of an ambitious sustainable development project, entirely autonomous for the benefit of the Burkinabe Red Cross and the countries of the Sahel region. The complex of 6,5 hectares consists of the transformed pavilion, accomodations, meeting rooms, dining area, sports fields, a nautical rescue training area, a vegetable farming zone and a solar panels field. The center will provide training in first aid and vocational training. It will also accommodate gatherings, events and conferences. 85% of the pavilion functions are retained. The building meets the norms for the High Quality Environmental Standards (HQE).
To raise awareness about this project, the Communication Team of the pavilion came up with a brilliant idea. Making different Expo 2015 Milan pavilions build a Lego model of a container. Nineteen containers were actually used to create a part of the structure. Containers are the most commonly used mean of transport in the entire world and a universal symbol of exchange and multiculturalism, representing for us a concrete example of creative recovery. To highlight this creativity, the Monaco pavilion thought to “friendly challenge” other Expo pavilions inviting all of them to build the little container. All the videos were displayed during the official event of the Red Cross of Monaco last 12 September, to present the Second life of Monaco Pavilion that will be dismantled and rebuild in Burkina Faso as a training centre for the local and the monegasque Red Cross.