Urso Chappell’s ExpoMuseum Blog: June 2007

29 June 2007

Expo 2012 Wroclaw Video

The folks in Wroclaw, Poland bidding for Expo 2012 have updated their web site and added this amazing video. A larger size with better resolution is available on their site here.

A Wroclaw world's fair would certainly be the first to feature a Hall of Serious Fun. It makes me wonder what 19th Century world's fair designers would think of us in 2007 as they designed their Halls of Agriculture and the like. I, for one, am ready for a Hall of Serious Fun. In many ways, that's what I like about world's fairs. They're serious fun!

The Hall of Tranquility reminds me much of a trend I've seen in recent years in exposition design. World's fairs can become one building of overstimulation after another. Expo 2000 in Hannover, Germany featured a chill-out space called Scape, which was a welcome respite from the rest of the pavilions. I noticed that same year that Austria and India both included areas where you could relax and escape lights and sounds. I hope to see this trend continue.

Wroclaw is competing against Yeosu, South Korea and Tangier, Morocco to host a small 3-month exposition in 2012. So far, I've been impressed with all three presentations, although the new Wroclaw video presentation doesn't seem to match the bid logo that was created earlier.

19 June 2007

Chicago Tribune Article Today

A few weeks ago, I mentioned talking to a reporter in Chicago about world's fairs.

The article came out today and it was fun to see myself portrayed as the hero.

It would be great if this article stirred up some interest in a United States city once again bidding for a world's fair or even if it just shined a light on the United States pullout of the Bureau International des Expositions a few years ago.

15 June 2007

One Year Until Expo 2008

Yesterday marked the "one year to go" mark until Expo 2008. Given the difficulty I've found in past years finding hotels during world's fairs, I'm going to try to start booking a room soon since most hotels don't allow reservations until one year before a date.

Also, I won't be making the mistake I made in 2005 and go the last couple of weeks. It seems that people all over the world share one universal trait: procrastination. If you look at attendance figures of world's fairs, there's always a huge spike right at the end.

Given the new timing of expositions (a big one every five years with a small one in between two big ones... but not in an adjacent year) and given that all three cities bidding for the 2012-2013 slot have chosen 2012, we'll have three expositions in the next five years! We won't have two back-to-back non-expo years until 2013-2014!

It's clear that excitement is building worldwide for expositions. In 2012, we might have our first Polish expo (in Wroclaw) or our first African expo (in Tangier, Morocco). In 2012 or 2015. We could have our first world's fair in an Islamic country in either Tangier (2012) or Izmir, Turkey (2015).

Notably Absent from the list of planned and potential future expos are any in the Western Hemisphere. The last exposition held in the Western Hemisphere was Expo 86 in Vancouver. With the next slot available for bidding being 2017-2018, we'll see at least a 31 year gap in North American world's fairs, very shocking given the strong history of international expositions in the United States particularly.

Let's hope the United States, Canada, or Mexico picks up the torch for 2017, 2018, or 2020

08 June 2007


After having recently done a study of world's fair mascots, I'd come to the conclusion that the 1984 Louisiana World Exposition's Seymour D. Fair was the first official mascot, but that Knoxville's 1982 World's Fair had unofficial mascots (whose names I have been unable to find).

Imagine my surprise when I saw this Flickr.com photo of "Burnie." Does anyone have any information about him or the unofficial characters that were in the parade?

02 June 2007

Expo 2010 Switzerland Pavilion

In the year or two before a world's fair, I'm always anxious to see what pavilion designs are being developed. Years ago, it was impossible to get this information beforehand. Now, with the internet, it's amazing what you can find.

Expo 2010 starts in about three years, but already preliminary designs are being unveiled. This week came news of Switzerland's plans, the result of a design competition.

Apparently, visitors will ride on ski lifts which will take them on a tour through the pavilion and onto the roof. (The articles I read called them "cable cars," but living in San Francisco, I've learned to be very picky about the term "cable car" ...but, I digress.)

Switzerland previously had a ski lift (and an indoor ski slope with artificial snow) at their Expo 88 Pavilion.

I can only imagine this will be a huge hit in Shanghai.