Expo Milano 2015: award-winning German Pavilion

With around three million visitors, the German Pavilion “Fields of Ideas” has issued a positive final assessment at the close of Expo Milano 2015. In addition to the Red Dot Award for best spatial communication, America’s Exhibitor Magazine recently designated it as the best pavilion in terms of interactivity (for the SeedBoard). The German Pavilion is also nominated in three categories for the FAMAB AWARD. Whether the “Fields of Ideas” will be awarded gold, silver or bronze, will be revealed on November 12 in Ludwigsburg.

The prizes confirm the large amount of positive feedback. One key factor for this positive assessment at the end of the six-month World Exposition in Milan was the implementation of the Expo theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” in the exhibition and the pavilion architecture (especially its resource-conserving lightweight design). Other success factors included the friendly visitor service provided by the hosts and hostesses and the emphasis on civil society projects via the 6 thematic ambassadors, who pointed out to visitors their own opportunities for action.

“At the end of this intensive 184-day period, the awards are a nice confirmation of what we saw here at the site: a lot of satisfied visitors from all over the world. This is a confirmation of our approach – not only with respect to the World Exposition in Milan but also for future projects,” said Dietmar Schmitz, Commissioner General of the German Pavilion and Head of the Division for Trade Fair Policy and Expo Participation at the Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi). “The ‘Fields of Ideas’ obviously struck a chord with visitors and we were able to present a wide range of ideas and solutions from Germany for sustainable global nutrition.” Wolfgang Marzin, Chairman of the Management Board at Messe Frankfurt, added: “As organiser of the German Pavilion, we are very happy about the great success of the project. The enormous degree of positive feedback from visitors, both in person and via social media, is a very nice confirmation.”

“To secure global nutrition is an important task which confronts us with a number of challenges”, says Peter Redlin, Creative Director of Milla & Partner in charge of the conceptualization of the exhibition and media in the German Pavilion. “I think we have achieved with the German Pavilion that visitors get involved with the topic and realise it’s fun to get active. It was great to see visitors electrified.”

„With the German Pavilion, a hub for exchange which has connected people has been established over the course of six months. The light, inviting atmosphere of the pavilion with ist many perspectives and insights has given impulses and inspired communication. A ‚Field of Ideas‘, which will be remembered by the many visitors for a long time“, says Lennart Wiechell, architect and partner of Schmidhuber.

Three million satisfied visitors

A market research institute has surveyed the assessment of visitors on behalf of the German Pavilon. The result of the surveys shows that the work of the entire pavilion staff of around 240 employees was highly appreciated. With over 90 of 100 points in areas such as friendliness, competence and responsiveness, they received very positive feedback. “From the outset, we were aware of the importance of making a friendly first impression. Our hosts and hostesses did a great job,” said Erol Altunay, Director of the German Pavilion from Messe Frankfurt. “We would like their careers to continue to prosper even after the Expo. The German Pavilion is therefore providing training for the staff to help them successfully find jobs in other companies in Germany or Italy,” explains Altunay about the commitment of Messe Frankfurt in charge of implementing the German Pavilion. Part of the team has already found follow-up employment, not least due to the professional experience they gained during the Expo project.

In addition to the regular visitors, numerous national and international delegations of politicians and businesspeople as well as well-known personalities from public life visited the German Pavilion, and found the German presentation to be very positive. Overall, the protocol team assisted well above 6,000 guests over the past six months. The absolute highlight was the visit paid by Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel with her husband Joachim Sauer. She had accepted the invitation of Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi. The Federal Chancellor thus visited the German Pavilion on 17 August together with her husband, Prime Minister Renzi and his wife Agnese Landini. This was the first time a head of the German government had visited a World Exposition outside Germany. Merkel expressed her gratitude in the guest book of the “Fields of Ideas” for the glimpse into the “wonderful pavilion”.

The former President of the European Central Bank, Jean Claude Trichet, honoured the German Pavilion on 20 October with his visit and congratulated Germany with a “bravo” on its contribution to the World Exposition. Umberto Eco, who has achieved international fame through his novels, playfully expressed joy about his visit to the exhibition through a smiling self-portrait in the guest book.

For the first time in the history of the World Expositions, the communication of the Expo and the participating countries on the Internet and in social media played a key role. The German Pavilion supplemented the offerings on its website with additional information in its social media profiles. The distribution of website visitors by country of origin was in keeping with expectations before the event: Around 60% originated from Germany, 27% from Italy, followed by 4.7% from the United States and 2.3% from Switzerland. In contrast, nearly half of all Facebook fans and Twitter followers came from Italy, followed by Germany and the USA. Contributions about culinary offerings at the Pavilion, successes in the form of awards, and glimpses behind the scenes, including portraits of individual staff members, achieved the largest number of views from Internet users.

The Expo ends on 31 October—and then?

The planned removal of all international pavilions, including the German Pavilion, will begin a few days after the Expo gates are closed. Once the technical equipment and fittings are removed from the offices and the exhibition, the ramp and then the façade will be taken away. At the start of 2016, the core of the building will then be dismantled piece by piece.

For impressions of the German Pavilion, please visit Flickr at http://m-es.se/Pg1n

Background information on the German Pavilion at the 2015 World Exhibition in Milan

Large-scale, universal world exhibitions are held every five years in rotation with smaller expos. The upcoming World Expo in Milan follows Shanghai (2010), Aichi (2005) and Hanover (2000). Expo 2015 showcases the theme “Feeding the planet, energy for life”. It dispenses with prestigious monumental buildings, presenting itself rather as a sustainable Agrofood Park. The German Pavilion “Fields of Ideas” has the motto “Be active”.

On behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy, Messe Frankfurt has been entrusted with the organisation and running of the German Pavilion at Expo 2015 in Milan. The design, planning and realisation of the German Pavilion have been taken on by the ARGE, a consortium made up of Milla & Partner (Stuttgart), Schmidhuber (Munich) and Nüssli Deutschland (Roth near Nuremberg). Milla & Partner is responsible for the content concept as well as the design of the exhibition and media. Schmidhuber is responsible for the pavilion’s spatial concept, its architecture and general planning and Nüssli for project management and construction. The Expo site is being built close to the existing Milan exhibition centre.