Inside Expo Payerne: how countries use the expo to promote themselves

AFP/Getty Images Today, in one of the seven wonders of the modern world, exhibitions and display cases fill the gleaming arches of the Expo Venue Payerne. Setting aside political tensions between Switzerland and its…

Inside Expo Payerne: how countries use the expo to promote themselves

AFP/Getty Images

Today, in one of the seven wonders of the modern world, exhibitions and display cases fill the gleaming arches of the Expo Venue Payerne. Setting aside political tensions between Switzerland and its neighbours, it’s always interesting to look at how countries use the medium of exhibitions to push a nation forward.

For example, the Swiss pavilion takes the form of a geodesic dome. It’s also home to the Ventracorner system, a large area built around one of the world’s tallest structures: the Jungfraujoch, a vertical suspension bridge and cable car suspended between the two mountains. The view, here, looks out across the La Romagne valley and the Alps – a vision of Swiss glitz and grandeur.

Next door, Qatar’s pavilion takes a more basic and traditional approach, but with a finished look that makes it stand out. The idea here is a deeply religious one: it’s full of paintings and sculptures of eastern spiritual figures, including the Most Light-headed Persian Prince Amir Shaikh Hamad Bin Khalifa Al Thani. Behind him is an arc of flame like that of God: you can feel the energy coming from this place, despite the monotony of the installation.

Other themes include “human needs”, “clean air” and “an environment friendly lifestyle”. One pavilion takes a tongue-in-cheek approach with a wall of “massive message placards” (“Old approaches have failed” and “People stop eating in case they’ll get fat”, for example) that appear to be making fun of people who shun meat. It turns out that the messages are only taking “humans in terms of selfishness and pointless consumption” too seriously!

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