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All the green in Bahrain

The pavilion of the archipelago in the Persian Gulf is a flourishing botanical garden full of fruits

The pavilion of the Kingdom of Bahrain was created

The pavilion of the Kingdom of Bahrain was created as a series of orchards intersecting in closed show areas and was built with prefab panels thanks to which it will be dismantled and transferred to Bahrain at the end of Expo Milano 2015 to become a public botanical garden

Watching it from the outside, it’s not easy to see how the pavilion of Bahrain at Expo Milano 2015 could be one of the greenest, most thriving and also most attentive pavilions in terms of environmental sustainability; moreover, it also holds another record: it was the very first to be completed.

The Kingdom of Bahrain presents itself at Expo with a space of around two thousand square metres designed by Dutch architect Anne Holtrop in collaboration with landscape designer Anouk Vogel. The structure is entirely formed by white concrete prefab panels, which, from the outside, hide the precious content of the pavilion.

The pavilion as seen from above
The pavilion as seen from above
Once crossed the entrance, however, you face a truly thriving and unique botanical garden. An incision on a stone at the entrance reminds visitors that the pavilion is the poetic interpretation of the agricultural heritage of the country, which descends from the ancient civilization of Dilmun. This name, which today is bore by one of the cities in Bahrain, in ancient times used to indicate an area known as the legendary "Garden of Eden" due to the abundant spring water gushing there. During the Bronze Age it was one of the main nodes on the commercial routes between Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley.

So the pavilion, conceived under the title of “Green archaeologies”, was built around ten different orchards, creating a sort of continuous green landscape. They are ten, to represent each of the main fruits originating in Bahrain, separated by closed spaces. The orchards illustrate the rich agricultural heritage of the archipelago and constitute the main part of the visit. These trees flourish and give fruits in different periods, thus embracing the six months duration of Expo. In this moment, for instance, one can admire bananas, figs, jujubes, pomegranates and olives reaching maturation.

The roof
The roof
Some archaeological remains are also displayed in the pavilion, celebrating the millennial tradition of this country. The environmentally-friendly character of this space and structure is also confirmed by the choice of prefab panels which at the end of Expo will allow to transport the whole pavilion to Bahrain where, once rebuilt, it will serve as a botanical garden, created so as to get the local and international public to learn about the agricultural heritage of the archipelago (the state of Bahrain is indeed composed of 33 islands close to the western coast of the Persian Gulf), which was long neglected.

For Expo 2015, Bahrain brought entrepreneur and chef Narise Kamber to Milan. She was assigned the supervision of the restaurant offer inside the pavilion. Kamber owns Saffron and Jena Bakery, two very popular establishments. The first, in particular, won the Time Out Award for best restaurant in Bahrain in 2014, and offers a menu with traditional dishes interpreted in a modern way.

The menu designed for the pavilion, instead, is inspired by fruits and changes as the ripening seasons change. Smoothies, fruit salads and dishes such as salads made with pomelo and orange, papaya and aubergine are served, as well as Madrooba from Bahrain (chargrilled meatballs wrapped in rice), rose ice cream and many drinks including date and coffee milkshakes and tea with palm water.

Tutto Expo

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Niccolò Vecchia

Journalist, based in Milan. At 8 years old, he received a Springsteen record as a gift, and nothing was the same since. Music and food are his passions. Author and broadcaster at Radio Popolare since 1997, since 2014 he became part of the staff of Identità Golose 
Instagram: @NiccoloVecchia

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