Carlo Ratti Associati uses 30,000 pralines to build an Artificial Intelligence-run chocolate pavilion.
CRA uses 30,000 pralines to build an Artificial Intelligence-run pavilion for high-end chocolate manufacturer Venchi – to premiere at FICO, Eataly’s forthcoming food park in Italy.
International design and innovation office Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) has designed an edible pavilion made of pralines, for chocolate producer Venchi. The project will be part of the new Venchi area within FICO Eataly World, the theme park dedicated to Italian food culture opening next month in the city of Bologna, in northern Italy. Inside the pavilion, CRA has also developed a number of chocolate-related “experiences”, including the use of artificial intelligence to measure one’s reactions and feelings when eating sweets.
THE EDIBLE WALL
The external walls of the pavilion are made up of more than 30 thousand pralines of different varieties, spread over a 8-meter-long (26-foot), 3.5-meter-high (11.5-foot) surface. Each chocolate candy can be picked by visitors, making the vertical element of the pavilion entirely edible. From afar, the pralines are
arranged in a mosaic that makes them look like a giant chocolate tablet, which has been dubbed the largest chocolate arrangement in the world.
“I never liked the fact that exhibitions require the use of large amounts of construction materials that then end up in landfills after just a few months”, comments Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA and director of the Senseable City Lab at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “In this project we thought: what if the pavilion could be dismantled by simply eating it? We also liked the reference to the timeless fairytale of Hansel and Gretel. The construction process, however, proved to be more challenging than we initially thought – as some building parts were eaten up on site during the installation…”
WHAT HAPPENS INSIDE THE PAVILION
The inside of the pavilion is also focused on chocolate, and it explores the effects of chocolate on humans. After entering through the chocolate wall, visitors can engage in a digitally-augmented tasting experience. Each of them is invited to sit inside a booth and try different Venchi pralines. Using Artificial Intelligence and facial recognition technologies developed in collaboration with Milan-based interaction design studio Dotdotdot, each person’s reactions to different types of chocolate are inferred form the micro-movements of lips, eyebrows, pupils, nostrils and forehead.
After the individual tasting experience, visitors walk into the “Chocolate Portraits” room. There, recordings of prior visitors’ emotions when eating chocolate are projected. Individual reactions are analyzed and shown in bright colors, almost like a scientific dissection of archetypical human reaction to food. In this ethereal and exhilarating space, dozens of faces seem to float in the air. It is like a portrait gallery, showcasing images of men, women, and children of all ages responding to the pleasures of chocolate.
After exiting the Chocolate Portraits room, visitors enter a laboratory where they can observe and partake into the making of Venchi’s products. There, they can get a hands-on demo of the manufacturing process, but also create a fully customized chocolate tablet, tailored to their personal taste based on the data about individual preferences gathered in the previous area.
The new Venchi store will be unveiled on 15 November 2017, during the opening of FICO Eataly World. In addition to the project for Venchi, CRA will also unveil another project at the Bolognese theme park, called “Hortus”: a pavilion that leverages new farming technologies to turn supermarket visitors into potential farmers, allowing them to engage with hydroponic cultivation and grow their own vegetables on site.
Visit the Website: http://www.carloratti.com
One of the most dynamic and productive brands of the Modena ceramics district, Lea Ceramiche has a far-reaching national and international coverage, with a capillary presence in more than 80 countries in the 5 continents around the world. In addition to Italy, the main markets are the United States, France, Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Korea and Japan. Lea Ceramiche is part of Panariagroup Industrie Ceramiche S.p.a., a leading international ceramics group quoted in the Star segment of the Italian stock exchange, which also owns the brands Panaria, Cotto d’Este, Fiordo, Blustyle in Italy; Margres, Love Tiles in Portugal and Florida Tile in the United States of America. Over the years, Lea Ceramiche has been the company in the group which has seen the most significant transformation, becoming one of the most prestigious businesses on the world ceramics scene.
This has been possible thanks to large and constant investments aiming to create successful collections with a strong personality based on careful research into style, appearance and performance, for every season.
Excellence, innovation, enthusiasm, aesthetics, competency and reliability: these are the founding values of Lea Ceramiche, the Fiorano Modenese-based company which designs and produces floor and wall ceramics for all kinds of settings. The company’s ability to innovate lies in its continuous experimentation, which leads to the development of cutting-edge production systems and technologies and allows Lea Ceramiche to supply its customers with a wide range of high quality products which lie at the top end of the market in terms of excellent technical performance and design qualities. The synergy of products, research and design provides professionals with a range of items able to satisfy a wide field of design needs, with a view to sustainability and improved visual coordination with the architecture and the furnishings. Slimtech is one example of this: the revolutionary laminated stoneware, just 3 mm thick and extra-sized at 1 x 3 metres, suited for uses which until now have not been accessible to traditional ceramics.
Lea Ceramiche’s commitment to environmental protection is constant. In all phases of the production cycle, close attention is paid to the working environment, raw materials and packaging; every process is monitored to assure energy savings and environmental protection. The continuous drive for improvement and the deep commitment to communication on all levels – including the presence in trade fairs with remarkable stands – and the collaboration with international designers, have led to the opening in 2010 of the first Lea Ceramiche showroom in the centre of Milan, in via Durini. A concrete sign of the vitality and will of the company to meet both professionals and other public audiences, the area offers a personal viewpoint for decorations and surfaces, narrated through temporary installations and with different colour and composition solutions created using the Lea Ceramiche collections.
Visit the Website: www.ceramichelea.it
The Jubilee Church (La Chiesa del Dio Padre Misericordioso), conceived as part of Pope John Paul II’s millennium initiative to rejuvenate parish life within Italy, is located outside central Rome. The triangular site is articulated three ways: first, dividing the sacred realm to the south, where the nave is located, from the secular precinct to the north; second, separating the approach on foot from the housing situated in the east; and third, again separating the approach on foot, from the parking lot situated to the west.
The paved sagrato to the east of the church extends into the heart of the housing complex and provides an open plaza for public assembly. The northern half of the site is divided into two courts: the eastern one is below ground by a full story, providing light and access to the lowest floor of the community center. Behind the church, the elevated western court is separated from the adjacent meditation court by a paved walkway that leads to the parking area.
The proportional structure of the entire complex is based on a series of squares and four circles. Three circles of equal radius generate the profiles of the three concrete shells that, together with the spine-wall, make up the body of the nave. While the three shells imply the Holy Trinity, the reflecting pool symbolizes the role played by water in the sacrament of Baptism. The materials used in the portico—the paving, the wall cladding and the liturgical furniture—allude to the body of Christ’s church while referencing the fabric of the adjacent residential area.
Glazed skylights suspended between the shells are lit by zenithal sidelight, and the nave is enlivened by a constantly changing pattern of light and shade. The light is diffused over the inner volume of the church and varies according to the hour, the weather, and the season, imparting a particular character to the aspects of the interior.