Swiss Pavilion Expo 2017 Astana

Swiss flower power at Expo 2017 Astana

On 10 June, the Swiss pavilion will open its doors at Expo 2017 Astana. The first world exhibition to be held in Central Asia is dedicated to the theme of ‘Future Energy’. The Swiss pavilion, organised by Presence Switzerland, showcases Switzerland as an innovative country with an interactive and surprising exhibition on the issues of energy efficiency, renewable energies and global water management.

The first world exhibition in Central Asia will take place from 10 June to 10 September 2017 in Astana, the capital of Kazakhstan. On 22 April 2015, the Federal Council decided that Switzerland would participate in Expo 2017 in Astana and tasked the FDFA with organising the Swiss pavilion. The budget for building and operating the Swiss pavilion amounts to CHF 4.2 million. Presence Switzerland coordinated the preparations for the pavilion.

The interactive Swiss ‘Flower Power’ pavilion showcases Swiss expertise and innovation in energy efficiency and renewable energies.

“The future belongs to renewable energies. Switzerland has declared its intention to make the transition from conventional to renewable energies. The ‘flower power’ slogan stands for energy from natural resources and the potential of renewable energies. Natural resources must be used and indeed fully exploited to create the energy world of tomorrow,” said Ambassador Nicolas Bideau, head of Presence Switzerland.

The heart and centre of the Swiss pavilion are four thematic houses: the Monte Rosa Hut, the Rösti House, the House of Water and the House of Swiss Innovation. In the Monte Rosa Hut, which looks like a mountain hut, visitors experience Switzerland’s pioneering spirit and innovation in the field of energy and building technology. The real Monte Rosa Hut on the Gorner Glacier is largely energy self-sufficient and therefore exemplifies the great potential of the sun as an energy source. In the second house, a rösti cooking demonstration shows visitors in a playful and humorous way how their daily consumption of energy affects the environment and what they can do in their daily lives to use energy more efficiently and thereby save energy. The third house, designed in collaboration with the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), focuses on water as a natural resource and source of energy. A film explores the world's most urgent water issues and the need for international cooperation in global water management. 

In the fourth house visitors learn about Swiss innovation through ‘SolarStratos’, a solar aircraft flown by the Swiss eco-adventurer Raphaël Domjan to the stratosphere, the edge of space and the limits of what is technically feasible.

The Swiss pavilion also features ‘Mission Possible’, a game developed by the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) encouraging visitors, through the characters of Heidi and her grandfather Alpöhi, to reflect on and to optimise their personal energy consumption.

“Personal commitment plays a key role in implementing the transition from conventional to renewable energies. Our exhibition aims to raise visitors’ awareness of what they can do to actively and personally contribute to the energy transition. It takes many small steps to arrive at a big solution,” said Nicolas Bideau.

In a symbolically significant way, the visitors to the Swiss pavilion will bring an initially grey and empty place to life. While they grapple with the theme of Expo 2017 in the four thematic houses, the environment outside the houses comes to life and begins to flourish. Designed by Atelier Oï and executed by Expomobilia, a whimsically playful landscape of rotating trees and colourful projections created by Claudia Caviezel, a Swiss graphic artist, unfolds to transform the entire pavilion into a lyrical, living art installation.

The ‘swissnex Lab’, a platform designed together with the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI), will showcase Switzerland as a leading centre of coordinated research, in particular research pertaining to energy. A temporary mobile swissnex will be launched for the first time during Expo 2017 in Astana to thematically complement the Swiss pavilion through scientific events, workshops and temporary exhibitions organised by universities, spin-off companies and partners from industry, and to foster exchanges between Kazakh and Swiss stakeholders in the fields of education, research and innovation.

Presence Switzerland estimates that the Swiss pavilion will attract 10% of the five million people expected to visit the world exhibition during its three-month run. A number of high-ranking Swiss visitors have already confirmed their attendance: the President of the Swiss Confederation, Doris Leuthard, will be welcomed at the Swiss pavilion on 11 August, to mark the Nation Day of Switzerland at Expo 2017 Astana. Federal Councillor Didier Burkhalter, who will open the ‘Blue Peace Central Asia’ conference on transnational water management organised by the SDC, will take the opportunity to visit the pavilion on 19 June. Federal Councillor Ueli Maurer will visit the pavilion during a trip to Central Asia. Benoît Revaz, Director of the Swiss Federal Office of Energy, and Mauro Dell'Ambrogio, State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation, are also expected to visit the pavilion. Bertrand Piccard, the visionary solar flight pioneer, will also put in an appearance.