UK Pavilion Milan Expo 2015 Design Competition

Finalists’ Concepts

Asif Khan

7.2 Billion people live on this Planet. Can you imagine trying to feed them all?

At the Milan Expo 2015 the UK will reveal a structure housing every single person on earth. This will form a uniquely British perspective on the Expo theme. When we talk about “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, we’re talking about people. More people = More food. That’s the challenge.

From the Terracotta army to Ai Wei Wei’s Sunflower Seeds, our ability to emotionally connect with population through representation is profound.

Remarkably a person remains recognisable at one hundredth of their real size. By scaling 7.2 Billion people by one hundredth, we have discovered that they will fit onto our Expo plot in 300 vertical layers. That’s a building measuring 80 metres long, by 15 metres wide by 12 metres high containing the entire world’s population.

Our pavilion will be the first to visualise the entire world’s population in three dimensions.

Grant Associates

Our Pavilion is the UK Food Machine and celebrates our island setting within two distinctive, linked environments, Sea and Land.

Our design takes the form of a 3 Dimensional infinity loop representing the future imperative for a joined up food chain. Within this dynamic environment, the Pavilion communicates the connectedness of the UK food industry to weather, water and soil cycles through to specific future production technologies, processes and produce.

Our working Seawater Greenhouse demonstrates UK innovation in meeting global food challenges whilst demonstrating the integrated systems required for a sustainable future. Animated by human and technological interplay, the designs capture the spirit of the UK as an advanced agricultural nation and celebrate the diversity of UK food and food culture.

Paul Cocksedge Studio

Our design for the UK Pavilion dissolves the border between exterior and interior, creating an overall sense of organic fluidity rather than solid presence. 1,296 re-usable telegraph poles create a ready-made timber forest: a calm and quiet space inviting exploration, and a mystery that takes visitors on a journey to a concealed exhibition area within.

Computer tablets installed with Augmented Reality software, accessible to all, transform the Pavilion’s physical environment into a digital world of sound and colour, communicating the UK’s contribution to the Expo’s themes in a multifaceted and coherent style.

Barber Osgerby

Reflecting the theme “Grown in Britain, Shared Globally”, the Pavilion celebrates how British agriculture, technology and food have positively impacted the world: providing solutions to global problems, sustainably providing more with less, all from field to fork. The Pavilion will be a working model of this way of thinking: an ecological, self-sustaining system in itself. Live, real world experiments allow visitors of all ages to engage, contribute, and join the debate, creating entertaining experiences through technology and materials that bring the British success stories to life.

Our team brings together a world-class group of architects, exhibition, industrial and digital designers, working alongside sustainability specialists, education and food experts in a highly collaborative creative approach.

Winner: Wolfgang Buttress Studio

Our concept, “BE”, highlights the plight of the honeybee and ways in which new research and technology are helping to address challenges, including food security and biodiversity. Visitors meander through an orchard, discover a wildflower meadow and enter a ‘virtual hive’, which pulsates, buzzes and glows according to signals from a real hive. Our proposal explores the life of the bee colony through an immersive sensory experience – a beautiful and profound encounter – leaving visitors with a lasting flavour of the British landscape.

Encompassing the best of British food, music and fashion, “BE” engages and inspires visitors to think and act differently, expressing ecological interdependencies and the role of technology in cultivating a deeper understanding of our environment.


#silentcurrency uses water as a metaphor to address the questions posed by the Expo.

80% of the water we use is hidden in our food, a shocking statistic made visible by our design. Inside a mysterious, roofless, black container, visitors walk along paths cut through a vast volume of water representing their water footprint – an immersive and memorable experience designed to inspire to change.

Corporate sponsorship contributes to the funding of 6 projects from 6 continents, each demonstrating a commitment to reducing water usage and showcased at the entrance. The leverage power of the Expo is exploited to find new support to end our profligate use of nature’s silent currency, making legacy as important as the exhibition itself.

David Kohn Architects

‘Strawberry Fields Forever’ tells the remarkable story of how British scientific and technological innovations are benefiting global food production and consumption. A monumentally light pavilion comprising a state-of-the-art glasshouse held above a picturesque garden provides the context for a journey through the sights, sounds, smells and tastes of the future of strawberry cultivation.

Visitors will encounter wild strawberry growing in the garden and then ascend to an edible strawberry cloud in the glasshouse. There follows a loop of galleries exhibiting contemporary and future production scenarios each involving British innovation: hydroponics, aeroponics, aquaponics and LED growing. Once the Expo has closed, the glasshouse will be relocated to the UK for use as a research facility.

Allford Hall Monaghan Morris with Studio Myerscough

THINKERS+GROWERS+MAKERS=SHARERS will provide every visitor with inspiration about how they can help to meet the global food challenge. We have created an immersive, memorable and friendly visitor journey based around the four themes of THINKERS + GROWERS + MAKERS = SHARERS celebrating the people and ideas that are leading scientific research, agriculture, food production and food consumption. The pavilion is designed to be a melting pot of ideas — from the local to the global.

Designed as a ‘collection’ of flexible built elements and experiences, visitors start in the Lab, then through the Orchard and Hanging Gardens, into our giant Oast House and end in our Market Place that celebrates the UK’s unique culture of exchange and discussion in a place for sharing, eating and drinking.