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Icon Magazine

4 issues per year Write Review From €7,25 per issue Icon is one of the world’s leading architecture and design magazines. Every month we interview the most exciting architects and designers in the world, visit the best new buildings, analyse the most interesting new cultural movements and technologies, and review an eclectic range of exhibitions, books, products and films. Beautifully presented and accessible, rigorous and insightful, Icon shows you exactly what’s happening in architecture and design today, and what it means for the future.

WAYS TO READ Icon Magazine

Single Digital Issue August 2015
 
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Icon  |  August 2015  


In our August issue, we consider what the world’s fairs represent – looking at this year’s Milan Expo, the 1958 Brussels Expo and a mini-history of fair mascots – as well as visiting OMA’s new Fondazione Prada
Progress is a perpetual fixation for many, encrypted into everyday life: ambition is a virtue; inertia is tantamount to failure. And there is power in progress, we’re told, that’s how the world turns. It’s also how the world’s fair turns (a.k.a. the Expo, a.k.a. the Universal Exhibition). Since 1851, world’s fairs have taken place across the world, from Paris to Port-au-Prince (though none have happened in Africa or the Middle East). At their heart, these fairs are a global cold war, with architecture and engineering as their weapons. Who is living the future? Let’s invest!
This year, the fair has landed in Milan. But, as Tim Abrahams writes, the Expo today represents a much more complex vision of how those weapons might be deployed. With this year’s Austrian pavilion, which is essentially a patch of woodland demanding from us not awe but a meditative pause, emerges the “non-pavilion”. Seemingly not making any attempt to directly represent “Austria”, it ceases to play the Expo game: the soft power of architecture here is at it’s absolute softest. A far cry from 1851’s Crystal Palace, which is an architectural fixation even today, to such a degree that there was great interest (by a Chinese developer) in rebuilding it. The original world’s fair pavilion is still doing its work to brand Britain.
In this issue, we take a look at what the world’s fairs did and do represent – looking at Milan but also heading back in time to the 1958 Brussels Expo, and a mini-history of fair mascots, who attempt to make this archi-circus a family affair.
Icon is one of the world’s leading architecture and design magazines. Every month we interview the most exciting architects and designers in the world, visit the best new buildings, analyse the most interesting new cultural movements and technologies, and review an eclectic range of exhibitions, books, products and films. Beautifully presented and accessible, rigorous and insightful, Icon shows you exactly what’s happening in architecture and design today, and what it means for the future.
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