Finland at Astana Expo 2017
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From Paris to Astana.."The World Expos for promoting Finnish science, art and exports"

On Tuesday 31th of January Finpro’s Astana Expo team organized the seminar "The World Expos for promoting Finnish science, art and exports". Representatives from the fields of architecture, design, business sector and administration participated in the event. First Finnish participation in World Expo took place in Paris in 1900. Finland will be the only Nordic country participating in Astana Expo 2017 -“Future Energy” in Kazakhstan from 10th June to 10th September 2017.

Architecturally unique pavilions

Professor of European History Laura Kolbe captured the audience with interesting presentation on history of world expos as part of Finnish nation building. In the beginning of 20th century, two competitive views tried to define cultural identity: one presented Finland as a modern and liberal country, while the other rooted the values into traditions and heritage. For so-called “liberals”, participation in the world expos played an important role in making Finland known: the purpose of the expositions was to showcase culture, science and innovations of modern country – the goal which is still valid today.

Professor Laura Kolbe giving a speech on the history of World Expos from the Finnish perspective.

According to Severi Keinälä, Commissioner General of Finland at Astana Expo 2017, “Astana Expo 2017” offers an excellent possibility to strengthen Finland’s image as a global pioneer in energy sector while presenting Finnish innovations and technology. Astana Expo 2017 gathers over 100 countries to Astana being the first international expo organized in Central Asia. The Finnish pavilion carries the theme “Sharing Pure Energy”.

The exhibition of the Finnish pavilion is designed to spark visitor’s curiosity and it causes them to explore issues related to Finland”, told Tuuli and Kivi Sotamaa, designers of the Finnish pavilion from Ateljé Sotamaa. The pavilion is organized around four architectural structures, Pure Energy, Smart City, Clean Water and Excellent Education with interiors telling a different story about Finland, energy and its future.

One of the key partners at “Astana Expo 2017” is Isku Interior, operating in Kazakhstan especially in school and medical sectors. Antti Olin, Head of Interior Design, views that Astana Expo creates an excellent platform to display Isku’s expertise in innovative learning spaces and anti-bacterial furniture.

Panelists Teemu Kurkela, Pekka Toivanen and Kivi Sotamaa, moderator Hanna Harris.

Architecturally unique Finnish pavilions in world expos have attracted international attention and received numerous awards. Teemu Kurkela (Architect, JKMM Architects), Pekka Toivanen (Managing director, Muotohiomo) and Kivi Sotamaa discussed about expo design in the panel moderated by Hanna Harris, the Director of the Architecture Information Centre Finland. Kurkela was the head designer of Kirnu while Toivanen worked on the design of the exhibition in the Finnish pavilion at Shanghai Expo.

World Expos can be a first global step for start-up companies also - as it will be for I’m Blue, company of four high school students. Their product, blueberry soda made of natural Finnish blueberries, is an outcome of schools’ Junior achievement's company program and it will be launched for sale this spring. (More about the journey of I'm Blue on their website).

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