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UK Pavilion at World Expo wins Gold Award for best in show

The World Expo in Milan has come to a close with a ninth award for the UK Pavilion - the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) Gold Award for Architecture and Landscape.

UK Pavilion
UK Pavilion. Photographer credit - Mark Hadden

The World Expo in Milan has come to a close with a ninth award for the UK Pavilion - the Bureau of International Expositions (BIE) Gold Award for Architecture and Landscape.

The UK's contribution to the international exhibition was a collaboration between landscape and art. It was designed by Wolfgang Buttress, an alumnus of Nottingham Trent University, to highlight the importance of pollination in the food chain and drew on honeybee research carried out by Nottingham Trent University physicist Dr Martin Bencsik.

The team responsible for the structure also included BDP, who provided architecture, landscape and lighting expertise together with structural engineer Tristan Simmonds and main contractor Stage One.

The giant aluminium lattice sculpture, The Hive, which was the centrepiece of the UK Pavilion, also recently won the Best Public Use Project with Public Funding Award at the prestigious Blueprint Awards 2015.

The Pavilion was commissioned by UK Trade & Investment (UKTI). Its aim was to prompt visitors to reflect on the links between science, research, nature, creativity and innovation in securing a sustainable future.

Visitors mapped the journey of the bee, meandering through an orchard of apple trees and along a meadow of British species wildflower before entering The Hive - a 14m sculptural, honeycomb inspired lattice, made of 32 layers and 169,000 aluminium components. The lattice was viewed from below through a nine-metre spherical void which was hollowed from the centre.

Dr Bencsik, a physicist in the University's School of Science and Technology, uses accelerometers – devices sensitive to minute vibrations – to detect and translate vibrations caused by bees during their activities and as they communicate with one another.

The lighting and soundscapes within the structure are directly inspired by his research, with sounds and an array of 891 LED lights that buzz and pulsate in response to live-streamed signals from a real bee colony kept at Nottingham Trent University.

Dr Bencsik said: "Attending the Blueprint award ceremony was a real eye opener into the extraordinary range of architectural, design and artistic work that had been short-listed for the 2015 competition.

"The fact that Wolfgang's work won the category it was short-listed in is a profound acknowledgement of its quality, especially as it was assessed by a range of nine international, highly influential judges who are world-class professionals in their respective fields. The BIE Gold award is for a separate competition within the 2015 Expo Pavilions and means that Wolfgang is the champion of the World Expo 2015!"

Wolfgang said: "I am very happy and honoured to have won these prestigious awards; they are a testament to, and acknowledgement of, the energy and creativity of the whole team."

During the six-month exhibition, the Pavilion welcomed 3.3 million visitors.

  • Notes for editors

    Press enquiries please contact Dave Rogers, Public Relations Manager, on telephone +44 (0)115 848 8782, or via email.

    The UK was one of 140 participating nations at this year’s World Expo which ran between 1 May and 31 October. For more information visit the Milan Expo website or the Milan Expo pages on

    Wolfgang Buttress is an award-winning artist working with public and private space. He creates simple, elegant and contextual artworks, which seek to define and celebrate a sense of place and the sublime. His work alludes to histories, traces and memories that are both personal and contextual. He was born in 1965 and studied BA (Hons) Fine Art at Nottingham Trent University in 1987. His practice has evolved over the past thirty years and has exhibited and created artworks in the UK and internationally. For more visit Wolfgang's website.

    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 the UKTI pages on or visit the online newsroom.

    Find out more information about BDP, Tristan Simmonds and Stage One

UK Pavilion at World Expo wins Gold Award for best in show

Published on 16 November 2015
  • Category: Press office

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