The Czech Republic’s contribution to the theme of the Universal Exposition in Milan, which is: “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life”, is keyed on its long-standing agricultural tradition of food-production, as well as its ground-breaking research into biochemistry and nano-technology with special reference to respect for the environment, human and animal health, not to mention food safety.
The Czech Republic’s pavilion makes special reference to Water, which is not altogether surprising, since the country features three important rivers, the Elbe, Oder, and the Danube, as well as a number of thermal springs, such as Karlovy Vary (Karlsbad) and Marianske Lazne (Marienbad). The country also boasts many impressive swimming pools constructed in the 1930s.
Last but not least, the Czech Republic is a world leader in water-purification technology
Re-stating the Water theme, and the most eye-catching aspect of the Czech pavilion, is the splendid pool that links it to the Decumano, the main avenue where the national pavilions are located. This impressive open space also includes a bar, where visitors can sample a Pilsner Urquell, the world-renowned Czech beer.
Set inside the pool and welcoming visitors to the pavilion is a sculpture by Lukas Rittstein. The rear-half a shiny automobile, the front-half a bird with spectacular plumage, the work represents the co-existence of technology and nature, and conveys a stark reminder: as it hurtles courageously towards the future, humankind will always be a passenger, with nature in the driving seat.
Outwardly, an eye-catching interplay of volumes, the Czech pavilion provides the setting for two major exhibitions. The Laboratory of Silence recreates a mixed Czech forest, with real trees, complemented by robotic projectors that interact with the visitors, beaming detailed images of the trees in question onto the walls of the exhibition hall.
Meanwhile, in the Laboratory of Life, nature comes under the microscope. The exhibition examines the genetic codes of a number of agricultural plants that were unraveled by Czech scientists. On the walls are large-scale artistic renderings of the codes. A multimedia presentation illustrates cells and biological processes, while a large sculpture of an animal recalls Czech success in the field of veterinarian medicine. Completing the picture, a low-energy use research lab.