Press release

Competition launched to create the UK Expo pavilion

UK Trade & Investment has launched a design competition to find an innovative team to create the UK pavilion for the Milan Expo.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government


UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) has launched a design competition to find an innovative multi-disciplinary team to create the UK pavilion and its content for the Milan Expo.

The Expo, themed ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’, will explore how we ensure sufficient, good, healthy and sustainable food for all, despite the many global challenges we face.

The design brief for the UK pavilion is asking for ideas that focus on the UK’s impressive breakthroughs in the science, technology and retail sectors, including agri-tech, plant science, animal and human health, food safety and food and drink products and services.

Trade and Investment Minister Lord Livingston said:

Through the UK Pavilion we will reach millions of people around the globe and build on the positive perception established by the UK Pavilion at Shanghai Expo 2010 and the London 2012 Olympic Games.

As 1 of the most creative countries in the world we are looking for memorable designs that will help us stand head and shoulders above our international competitors.

For the first time UKTI are inviting interested sponsors to come in as part of the bidding teams. A simultaneous search for a building contractor is also open for expressions of interest, as is the search for commercial partners interested in the opportunity to represent British food, drink and retail at the Expo.

The Milan Expo will run from 1 May 2015 to 31 October 2015, and over 20 million visitors are expected.

The last UK pavilion at Shanghai 2010, designed by Thomas Heatherwick, attracted international acclaim and won gold for best design. In the duration of the six month Expo more than 8 million went inside the ‘Seed Cathedral’, making it the UK’s most visited tourist attraction.

Notes to editors

  1. The Milan Expo will start on 1st May 2015 and end on 31st October 2015 and consist of 6 months of meetings, conventions and other events on a site which will be entirely dedicated to this extraordinary event. The Expo will be held on an area to the north-west of Milan on some 1.7 million square metres and include part of the cities of Pero and Rho. The UK pavilion will be built on a 1,910 square metre plot. The Expo’s theme is ‘Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life’, and addresses the question: how we ensure sufficient, good, healthy and sustainable food for all, despite the many global challenges we face.

  2. The UK participation will build on the legacies of Shanghai Expo 2010 and the hugely successful London 2012 Games. UK government is providing up to £6 million for design build and content and is looking for private sector sponsors and partners to come on board to deliver a stand out participation which delivers increased trade and investment for Britain.

  3. The Expression of Interest for providing design and content services and for commercial sponsors to come on board to the bidding consortia is published on the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU) website. The design competition is being managed by Malcolm Reading Consultants (MRC).

  4. In the 2012 Autumn Statement, UKTI was awarded an additional £70 million for each of 2013/14 and 2014/15, enabling the recruitment of more international trade advisers around the country, expansion of existing services including the Trade Access Programme (TAP) and the Overseas Market Introduction Service (OMIS), and support to expand the range of assistance available to UK companies through overseas British chambers of commerce.

  5. The government’s economic policy objective is to achieve ‘strong, sustainable and balanced growth that is more evenly shared across the country and between industries’. It set 4 ambitions in the ‘Plan for Growth’, published at Budget 2011:

  • to create the most competitive tax system in the G20
  • to make the UK the best place in Europe to start, finance and grow a business
  • to encourage investment and exports as a route to a more balanced economy
  • to create a more educated workforce that is the most flexible in Europe

Work is underway across government to achieve these ambitions, including progress on more than 250 measures as part of the Growth Review. Developing an Industrial Strategy gives new impetus to this work by providing businesses, investors and the public with more clarity about the long-term direction in which the government wants the economy to travel.

6.UK Trade & Investment (UKTI) is the government department that helps UK-based companies succeed in the global economy. We also help overseas companies bring their high quality investment to the UK’s economy – acknowledged as Europe’s best place from which to succeed in global business. UKTI offers expertise and contacts through its extensive network of specialists in the UK, and in British embassies and other diplomatic offices around the world. We provide companies with the tools they require to be competitive on the world stage. For more information on UKTI, visit or visit the online newsroom at

Published 28 January 2014