Milan Expo 2015 Through The Eyes Of A Romanian Photographer

Milan Expo 2015 opened a week ago and despite being marred by student riots, its serenity has been captured through the eyes of a Romanian photographer along with his ranking of the top 5 pavilions.

Laurian Ghinitoiu is an international architectural photographer and he has been recording his favourites from the recently-opened Expo park which stretches for 2km on the outskirts of metropolitan city Milan.

The theme chosen for the 2015 Expo is Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life. This embraces technology, innovation, culture, traditions and creativity and how they relate to food and diet. Expo 2015 will further develop themes introduced in earlier Expos (e.g., water at Expo 2008 in Zaragoza) in the light of new global scenarios and emerging issues, with a principal focus on the right to healthy, secure and sufficient food for all the world’s inhabitants.

The concerns of many futurologists about the quality of food in the years to come are compounded by forecasts of increasing uncertainties regarding the quantities of food that will be available globally. These concerns, expressed early on in studies by MIT for the Club of Rome, were largely ignored at a time when it appeared that increases in resource availability would outstrip increases in consumption. However, the rapid depletion of agricultural surpluses has clearly manifested the urgency of the problem of how to Feed the Planet and prevent hunger.

Police fired tear gas at demonstrators on Friday as violent protests marred the start of the Milan Expo, which the government had hoped would help to put a new face on Italy after years of economic decline.

Thick clouds of smoke from burning cars filled parts of central Milan, where groups of protesters, their faces masked against the fumes, threw stones and petrol bombs and faced off against lines of police in riot gear.

The confrontation broke out after an opening ceremony at the Expo site where Prime Minister Matteo Renzi hailed the start of a six-month-long showpiece of culture and technology that focused on the theme of sustainable food production.

The fair mobilised a range of left-wing protesters, from anti-globalisation and environmentalist activists to students and anti-austerity campaigners, who see it as a symbol of waste and corruption. Thousands of police had been deployed to counter the threat of violence.

Renzi has been counting on the event to reinforce signs of recovery after years of recession that have hit young people especially hard.

“All you experts who kept saying ‘We’ll never do it’ — this is your answer,” he said at the opening. “I like to think that tomorrow begins today.”

Instead, the elegant centre of Milan was transformed into a battle ground, with sirens and bangs from flash bombs and firecrackers ringing out against the shouts of protesters. Eleven police suffered minor injuries.

The main part of the demonstration was halted by police vans blockading the street, but breakaway groups of masked demonstrators fought running battles in the rain that left streets littered with makeshift barricades and debris.

Read more about what you can expect to see at Expo here.

Simon Ludgate
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