Interaction design and dynamic data visualization for Future Food District, 

the futuristic Coop supermarket 

Expo, Milan 2015


The Future Food District, designed for the Coop supermarket chain, is one of the theme areas of EXPO 2015 “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” and has been created in a pavilion of 2500 sq.m. with an additional 4500 sq.m. of public space. Through a complex system of Kinnect and touch screens, the project examines new forms of interaction between people and products inside a real operational supermarket. FFD explores how information can give a voice to products, allowing them to tell their own story, and in the final analysis, to stimulate more specific consumer models. The goods are not displayed on shelving but placed on large tables, as they would have been in the ancient markets. Simply by touching the items, the visitor activates an interactive process that is relayed to the mirrored screen suspended from the ceiling. Moreover, the information on the origins of the products on sale and on the sales figures are presented in real-time on a gigantic 28 meter video, created using 6 video projectors, positioned above the loudspeakers.

Even the external façade of the pavilion interfaces with the visitors; in actual fact, the facings have been transformed into the world’s largest plotter, and they process information and figures supplied by the visitor in real time. The plotter is a tool that can transform any surface into a large monitor, and depicts in real time the faces of the clients immortalized by the photo booth installed in the pavilion. A photograph of the visitor is taken inside the photo booth and this image is transformed into a vector file for the plotter, thanks to a system of face tracking. During EXPO, the facades of the pavilion will act as the backdrop for consumers’ faces that have been split into 6 types (wellness, foodie, easy, veg&veg, Italian food lovers, green&ethic, producing the ‘ideal’ face of the Coop.



Supervised by Carlo Ratti: MIT Senseable City Lab

Partner: Carlo Ratti Associati

Concept design: MIT Senseable City Lab

Architecture and interior design: Carlo Ratti Associati

Landscape design: Capatti Staubach Landschaftsarchitekte

Flow analysis: Systematica

Urban algae folly design: ecoLogicStudio

Vertical farm design: ENEA, Ceres, Lucchini Idromeccanica

Graphic design: Studio FM Milano

System integration: Accenture

Interaction design: Avanade, dotdotdot (con Ambhika Samsen, Andrej Boleslavsky, Vittorio Cuculo)



Laura Fantacuzzi

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