Milan’s World Fair, Expo 2015, which will run from 1 May to 31 October 2015, will explore the theme Feeding the Planet for Life. In response to this theme, Italian architect and innovator Carlo Ratti has designed two pavilions intended to educate the public on the production, distribution, preparation and consumption of food and how it is evolving.
The two 2,550 sq m pavilions will be located at the heart of the Exposition’s 100-hectare site near the crossing of the Cardo and Decumano streets and surrounding a 4,500 sq m piazza. One will house a supermarket and the other a functional kitchen. The Future Food District (FFD) Supermarket operates on two levels, both architecturally and conceptually.
On the ground level, new technologies are showcased in a large, fully-automated warehouse where products are collected and sorted, constantly supplying the upper floor, which houses the Supermarket proper, a space capable of generating new interactions between consumers, products and manufacturers. Here products will be displayed on interactive stalls.
This layout, made possible by an innovative automated re-shelving system, avoids the typical visual barriers of classic shelving units, making it easier to interact with others ‘around the table’. Suspended from the stalls are large screens that reflect the products on display making it easy for shoppers to find what they are looking for, even from a distance. Motion sensors located at each stall detect gestures of shoppers, augmenting products with digitally-customised information to create a personalised shopping experience.
Like traditional food markets, the FFD Supermarket returns to being a place of exchange in which everyone can be both supplier and consumer. New technologies and product services facilitate this transformation, reconnecting individuals with the food network and creating more informed consumption patterns.