Kazakhstan, the ninth largest country in the world, located in distant Central Asia has an extremely low population density. At EXPO 2015 in Milan it wants to show that it has much more to offer than endless steppes where returning astronauts are picked up.
With its vast agricultural lands and modern agricultural concepts Kazakhstan fits perfectly into the Expo theme "Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life". Divided into six rotundas, the exhibition shows historical, current and future aspects of agriculture.
As general contractor facts and fiction is responsible for almost everything, from the concept and planning to the implementation and technical operation of the pavilion. Only the architecture of the building has been left in the hands of our proven, trusted partner gtp2.
The tour begins in the pre-show where a sand painter traces the most important stages in the history of the country. This is followed by an escalator ride through a gallery of evocative black and white photos with agricultural motifs from the 1950s and 60s; four of the pictures suddenly seem to come alive. Having arrived on level one, the visitor gets a glimpse of the whole exhibition, the shiny white floor contrasts with the black walls that serve as background for graphics and text. Each rotunda has a central object and is devoted to a main theme. The rotundas are formed by high-resolution 360° visual motifs that contribute to a large extent to the lighting mood.
At the centre of the first rotunda is the original desk of the great Kazakh agricultural reformer Alexander Barayev, staged under "heaven" of a wheat ears through which a constant wind blows. His ploughless farming method that ensured high yields even in countries with a continental climate is explained using model fields corresponding to the four seasons. An interactive herbarium presents the main crops grown in Kazakhstan.
The second rotunda is dedicated to livestock, which has traditionally played a significant role in this nomadic country. At the centre of this rotunda is a golden statue of a rearing horse - even today, the horse is the most important working animal in Kazakhstan, not only as a mount but also as a source of meat and dairy products. Fermented mare's milk known as kumys is the country's national drink. Every visitor who brings the necessary courage with them has the opportunity try the tart, slightly alcoholic "sparkling wine of the steppe".
A conserved, natural apple tree forms the focus of the third rotunda - Kazakhstan is the country of origin of all apples grown worldwide. Using interactive iPads visitors can take a 360° expedition to the ancient apple forests of the Tian Shan Mountains. As if these surprises are not enough, the Central Asian steppe and not Holland is also the home of the tulip. An olfactory station exudes the original tulip fragrance as evidence. The unique Lake Balkhash can also be explored with an interactive laser scanner. The lake consists equally of both fresh and saltwater.
Critical issues are not ignored either: An interactive floor relief forms the central exhibit of “Ecology” rotunda showing the dramatically changing water levels of the Aral Sea from 1960 to the present day. The surroundings rotate so visitors can navigate through the years and experience the lake drying out in quick motion. An "SOS" column explains the background to this ecological disaster .
A sturgeon petting zoo awaits visitors in the "Aquaculture" rotunda. Here visitors are able to make close contact with one of the oldest living creatures on earth The peaceful living fossils swim in an open pool and have no fear of human contact. An installation shows a new method of caviar production for which the fish do not have to be killed.
A cornfield attacked by a swarm of locusts is at the centre of the sixth rotunda. Here, the exhibition shows how the pests can be effectively controlled in an environmentally friendly way using drone monitoring, biological pesticides and new spray techniques. Visitors can become drones pilots and track and map affected areas with a remote-controlled aircraft.
Finally, the main show follows: Visitors enter a domed hall, 15 metres in diameter. Accompanied by three-dimensional sunbeams, visitors make a spectacular four-and-a-half-minute trip from the surface of the sun to Kazakhstan and the future, ending at the EXPO 2017 in Astana. Spectators seem to fly through different scenarios that represent the country's wealth of natural and agricultural resources. This effect is created by "Dynamic Cinema", a disk on which are the chairs are mounted. Synchronised to the camera, it conveys a realistic flying experience: in contrast to conventional movement simulators, new spindle motor technology creates a gentle, pleasant feeling of gliding.