An architect created a building made of 30,000 chocolates -- and anyone can eat it

  • An Italian architecture firm designed a building made entirely of chocolate, commissioned by high-end chocolatier Venchi.
  • It is located at Fico Eataly World, a new theme park dedicated to Italian cuisine, in Bologna, Italy.
  • The building’s inside uses facial recognition to measure visitors’ reactions while eating chocolate.

In true Willy Wonka fashion, designers from the Italian firm Carlo Ratti Associati (CRA) constructed a building with edible walls.

The pavilion, commissioned by high-end chocolatier Venchi, is made of 30,000 chocolates. The project was led by Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA and director of the Senseable City Lab at MIT. On Wednesday, the building debuted at Fico Eataly World, a new theme park dedicated to Italian cuisine, in Bologna, Italy.

Visitors are free to pick the chocolates off the exterior walls, which measure 10 feet long and 20 feet tall. Inside, there are screen that use facial recognition to measure visitors’ emotions while eating the chocolate. The system, developed by interaction design studio DotDotDot, analyses each person’s movement of their lips, eyebrows, eyes, nostrils, and forehead. Their face is then projected on the interior walls.

Similar to Eataly markets in New York City, Boston, and Dubai, the new park features Italian restaurants and food products. But in addition to that, it includes 20 acres of farmland where visitors can learn how farmers process cheese, meat, and pasta.

The $US160 million development broke ground in 2014, and could attract 10 million visitors per year, according to Eater. Admission is free.

Ratti wanted to create a chocolate wall for the park because he saw it as an installation that would create minimal waste.

“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,” he said in a statement. “In this project we thought: ‘What if the pavilion could be dismantled by simply eating it?'”

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