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UK creative industries get strong showing at World Expo 2015

UK Culture Secretary visits Britain’s ‘Hive’ pavilion which is forecast to generate £1bn in trade and tourism

Image of the UK Pavilion Hive
Image courtesy of UKTI

Culture Secretary John Whittingdale today lent his support to the ‘Hive’, as record numbers experienced the UK’s entry to the 2015 World Expo in Milan.

The UK Pavilion, which was yesterday awarded the International Jury Prize for best design and relevance to the Expo theme, has a magnificent 50-tonne aluminium abstract beehive as its centrepiece, has seen a peak daily crowd of 40,000 and is nearing a total of 2.3 million visitors.

This puts it among the most visited pavilions at the Expo, which acts as a global shop window to 145 contributing nations and organisations and has run from May until the end of October.

Earlier this month the Hive showcased the UK’s creative industries in a themed week backed by the Government’s GREAT campaign.

After a record year for the UK’s creative industries contributing £76.9 billion to the country’s economy, the Hive is expected to generate a further £1bn in trade and tourism. Four out of five visitors said they were more likely to visit the UK following their experience at the Hive.

Designed and built by British talent, the Hive is packed with the country’s best science, technology, art and engineering in answer to the fundamental global challenge of how to feed the world’s growing population. It draws its inspiration from the honeybee, responsible for pollinating two thirds of the world’s crops.

More than 890 LED lights illuminate the Hive, following the real-time movement of bees in a hive 870 miles away in a meadow in Nottingham.

After touring the Hive, Mr Whittingdale said:

I congratulate the talented team of UK architects and engineers for their hard work in creating the UK Pavilion. They are truly deserving of the International Jury Prize.

Not only is this a great example of our architectural and design talent, it is also a perfect metaphor for the United Kingdom. We are a hive of creativity, scientific discovery and technological innovation. The way we combine art and science is one of our greatest assets and something we rightly promote across the world.

The World Expo is a proven showcase for emerging talent in architecture and design. Thomas Heatherwick made his name with his prize-winning pavilion at the Shanghai Expo in 2010. The Hive’s team comprises designer Wolfgang Buttress, Manchester-based architects BDP and York-based construction experts, Stage One.

Mr Whittingdale’s visit to the Expo marked the end of a two-day trip to Venice and Milan in support of the creative industries, which are worth £8 million an hour to the UK economy.

Prior to his visit to the World Expo he saw work by UK artists Sarah Lucas and John Akomfrah at the 56th Venice International Art Biennial.

Next year sees the UK hosting a major global fair with the International Festival of Business taking place in Liverpool in June. 2016 also marks the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death with a global programme of performances, exhibitions and events to celebrate the legacy of the great writer. This will be led by the British Council in partnership with a broad consortium of partners in the UK and around the world.

Published 30 September 2015