A Meeting with Carlo Petrini and Jacques Herzog

19 May 2015

Slow Food and the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron have collaborated on the design and construction of the Slow Food Pavilion at Expo Milan 2015. On May 19 Carlo Petrini and Jacques Herzog will come together at the Slow Theater to illustrate the mutual ideas and philosophy that have been central to this project.


Herzog & de Meuron were originally involved in the implementation of their master plan for Expo Milan 2015, but abandoned the project when they realized that “the organizers would not undertake the necessary steps to convince the participating nations to give up on their conventional indulging in self-contemplation instead of focusing on their specific contribution to agriculture and food production.”


When Slow Food decided to participate at Expo 2015 to make its voice heard in this international platform, it became important to take on Herzog & de Meuron’s requirement to create an innovative Expo space that would be in harmony with the theme of Expo 2015: Feeding the Planet. Energy for Life. Slow Food agrees with Herzog & de Meuron’s vision of focusing on the content of the exposition rather than on pompous and unsustainable structures that would only distract the visitors from the real purpose of the event. Slow Food was therefore certain that it would like to collaborate with Herzog & de Meuron on the implementation of a special pavilion that would stick to the architects’ original master plan.


In 2014, Slow Food asked Herzog & de Meuron to take on the task of designing its space at Expo, and once they accepted, they started to work with Slow Food on the Pavilion, which is now in the implementation phase. It was extremely gratifying for Slow Food that the architects accepted, because it meant being able to see the organization’s main topics and concerns be interpreted and implemented architectonically by such an important partner. What followed was an extraordinary collaboration with Herzog & de Meuron, because they have shown a very accurate comprehension of the Slow Food philosophy, themes, and style.


Carlo Petrini said in regard to the collaboration: “My initial expectations in working with Herzog & de Meuron have been exceeded: The experience has been filled with mutual understanding, and it was moving to see that they share the same ideas about sustainability, style, and what the spaces for a Universal Exposition should look like. Each of their suggestions was in coherence with our philosophy, and our interests overlapped in every single drawing or stylistic element, which made the collaboration extremely harmonious. We admire Herzog & de Meuron as one of few partners who managed to understand our message completely as well as keep an eye on every detail.”


Jacques Herzog explains the Slow Food Pavilion as a space where “people can watch visual statements and read key texts about different consumption habits and their consequences for our planet, they can meet and discuss with exponents of sustainable agriculture and local food production to learn about alternative approaches, and they can smell and taste the richness of agricultural and food biodiversity.”


Visit the exhibition the Slow Food area – Piazza della biodiversità – at Expo, from May 1 to October 31. You’ll find our space at the eastern edge of the Expo site in Pavilion H12. It is easily reachable by catching the “People Mover” from F10 Stop, getting off at F7 Stop.

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