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Kuwait unveils plans for Milan Expo, mascot 'Foody'

Sudan becomes 143rd participant

07 March, 10:51
Kuwait unveils plans for Milan Expo, mascot 'Foody' (By Emily Backus).

(ANSA) - Milan, March 7 - Sudan this week confirmed its presence at Milan Expo 2015, becoming the 143rd official participant in the food-themed world fair next year.

While Sudan will be exhibiting food practices with other countries in an arid-zone themed cluster, another desert country, oil-rich Kuwait, on Thursday unveiled in Milan plans for its own pavilion.

The Kuwaiti pavilion will immerse visitors in a drama of harsh nature and human advances to make life bloom in a desert with some of the highest recorded temperatures in the Middle East.

The Kuwait pavilion will take visitors through the great transitions, from parched earth to budding greenery, from day to night and through the changing seasons along an exhibit that is nearly 1.5 km long. Enormous sails, shaped like those of a traditional Kuwaiti sailing vessel will frame the entrance - homage to Kuwait's rich maritime history and seafood-based cuisine - launching visitors first on a path through the desert to understand the climatic challenges of the land. Then research and technological solutions will show visitors how the terrain is being reshaped through water desalination and reuse, and renewable energy to cultivate the land and fishing resources. The path finishes in a slice of Kuwaiti society and culture, with a restaurant and a souk - or open market - where visitors can buy regional Kuwaiti cuisine.

There will be two versions of the path - one for adults and one for children. Special guides will be provided for kids, who will encounter a live rainstorm and an aquarium, among other attractions.

The building will be able to host 11,000 visitors per day and will be located between the German and US pavilions. One side will be entirely covered in hydroponic plants.

Emanuale Rossetti, the director of the general contractor Nussli Italia, which is in charge of the pavilion, promised "a fascinating experience". "The theme proposed by Expo (Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life) is perfectly suited to our country which has been involved for some time in the development of best practices in the energy field to apply unconventional solutions in food production and bequeath to future generations a more fertile land," said Salah Mansour Al-Mubaraki, Kuwait's Expo 2015 Commissioner General. The pavilion itself also will be highly environmentally sustainable, with rain water collection and reuse, and a film treatment on glass windows to filter sunlight. After the Expo, the Kuwaiti pavilion will be dismantled and 80-90% of the materials recycled, said Rossetti.

Also unveiled this week, the name of Expo's Arcimboldo-like cartoon mascot, with its banana lips, garlic nose, figgy beard and pineapple topnot was announced - "Foody".

The Milan Expo 2015 jury chose the name among 8000 entries submitted by children around Italy who participated in a contest launched in December to give appellations to the mascot and its 11 single-food friends. A tropical lady banana has been dubbed Josephine, the fig is now Rodolfo, a pomegranate has been named Chicca and the orange, Arabella. The watermelon is Gury, the mango Manghy, the apple Pomina, the pear Piera, the radishes are the Rap Brothers, while the blue corn is Max Mais. Expo Milano 2015 Commissioner Giuseppe Sala admitted that the garlic, named "Guaglio" - which means "guy" in a southern Italian dialect - was controversial within the northern Italian jury.

The main mascot Foody will appear on the Expo entrance gates, on trams around the city, on merchandise - like t-shirts and stuffed critters - on 20 million children's textbook covers and on television and electronic screens.

"''From January, we'll be ready to start with the Disney cartoon TV series and the series on the web," said Sala.

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