Architect: Milan Expo a 'bore and waste of money'

Swiss architect Jacques Herzog, a masterplanner for the 2015 Milan Expo, has launched a scathing attack on the event

Jacques Herzog
Jacques Herzog

Architect Jacques Herzog, a masterplanner for the 2015 Milan Expo, has launched a scathing attack on the event calling it a “bore and waste of money”.

Herzog, one of the two founders of Swiss firm Herzog & de Meuron, said he believed the Milan Expo 2015 was a missed opportunity to reinvent the global design fair

"These expos have become huge shows designed merely to attract millions of tourists," he said in an interview with Berlin-based architecture magazine Uncube. "What a bore and a waste of money and resources!"

In 2009, Herzog was invited by Italian architect Stefano Boeri to draw up the masterplan for the 2015 Expo, which has the theme of Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life and includes purpose-built showcase pavilions from around 140 countries.

The original design team, said its aim was to rethink the Expo format to place more focus on exhibitions rather than national pavilions.

But just four years ago all its members had left the project. Herzog said this was because the organisers were not "powerful or courageous enough" to support their ideas, and had instead reverted to "the same kind of vanity fair that we've seen in the past".

He explained: "We decided only to accept the invitation to design the Milan masterplan if our client would accept a radically new vision for a world exhibition; abandoning these monuments of individual national pride that have turned all expos since the mid-19th century into obsolete vanity fairs.

"The content of the exhibitions should make the countries look different, not the size of their pavilions.

"It simply seems embarrassing to address this very important topic and at the same time built enormous, dramatically curved pavilions with facades in wavy plastic or with spectacular waterfalls or whatever.

"I am afraid that the visitors will again be blinded and distracted rather than informed and made aware of chances and risks, of opportunities and difficulties, of politics and business, etc.

“"There is an amazing variety of global themes that should be tackled and brought to the fore – the conventional format with national pavilions competing for design awards cannot deliver that."


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