Solar Moka is a giant coffee-making machine that is suspended from the ceiling surrounded by mirror arrays that track the sun. Solar rays directed toward the coffee pot heat water for the coffee. Solar Moka is part of an entire café designed for the expo that highlights the principles of a circular economy, transparent supply chain and sustainable design.
At the entrance to the café, a series of potted coffee plants are suspended 16 feet above the ground. The plants are grown on-site for the entire duration of the Expo. The cafe’s main counter is even made from coffee beans grown from these plants.
The coffee garden containing Solar Moka includes coffee plants to give customers a visual of where their coffee originates from. The circular shaped cafe was designed for Italian coffee manufacturing company Lavazza. The idea is to create a transparent supply chain contained within the cafe itself.
“We tried to play with different dimensions of sustainability here,” said MIT Professor Carlo Ratti, founding partner of CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati. “All the waste from coffee production is reused in the design in various ways.”
Solar Moka is a 8-foot-tall reproduction of one of the iconic Italian Carmencita Moka pot. The Moka pot was designed by Italian architect Marco Zanuso for Lavazza in 1979.
“This project combines the Italian traditions of coffee and design with the principles of the circular economy,” said Italo Rota, founder of Italo Rota Building Office and co-designer on the project. “At the same time, it plays with the convergence between the natural and the artificial worlds, a topic that is central to the future of our work.”
Photography by Michele Nastasi