Walking into the Cocoa and Chocolate Cluster, a visitor had the impression of entering a jungle. The concept was inspired by the places where cacao is grown: plantations in tropical and subtropical areas. The faces of the buildings were made from a light, thin fabric that opened to reveal the furnishings inside: a metaphor for the need to protect a precious, aromatic product like cacao.
The shared space in the Cocoa and Chocolate Cluster held a series of poles of varying height and shape, metaphors for the trees under which cacao grows. The atmosphere was the dense and welcoming one of a forest where the light penetrated the crowns of the trees and spread through the pavilions.
The structure of the Cluster
The pavilions, which were alike in size and colour, identified the participating country with its flag and its name on the outside. Drawings, icons and images on panels told the many possible stories about cacao: from cultivation to processing, from distribution to transportation.
A main path ran through the cluster, linking the area reserved for tastings and relaxation to the events area and the area dedicated to cooking demonstrations.
The area for events was formed with long lines of seating arranged in a fan, designed both to be a parterre for the audience during performances and to encourage informal, shared uses of the space during the rest of the day. An illuminated green space held benches and tables to welcome those passing by on the Decumanus or people coming out of the pavilions.
Symbols of fertility
Cacao has been grown for millennia by many pre-Columbian peoples and played a central role in the food and culture of the Mayans and Aztecs. Among the many preparations it was used in by the Aztecs was a bitter drink called “xocolātl”. Another traditional recipe combined cocoa beans with hot peppers. Used as a food, drink and even as currency, cocoa became a symbol of energy, fertility and life. Behind the chocolate that we eat or sip, there is a tiny fruit, the cacao. More than twenty developing countries produce it, and it is a main source of income for their economies.
Discover the countries of the Cocoa and Chocolate Cluster in the records of Expo Milano 2015
Cameroon: “Cocoa Cultivation: an Argument for Opportunities”
Cuba: “On the Road to Food Sovereignty”
Gabon: “Food that benefits all lifestyles”
Ghana: “Cocoa: Your wealth, health, and heritage”
Ivory Coast: “Producing Cocoa for the Planet. Respectfully”
Sao Tomé and Principe: “Biodiversity with cocoa and culture of happiness”