Salta il menu e vai al contenuto di pagina
Installazione Fuori Salone

A grain of happiness
at the Fuorisalone


From 15 to 25 April, as part of Milan’s Fuorisalone, Eni introduces a project at the Brera Botanical Garden that celebrates training and skills across fields as diverse as cooking and architecture.

Eni’s participation in Milan’s Fuorisalone, which began in 2018 with Plenitude transforming the Botanical Garden into a future city with Mario Cucinella’s Smart Town installation, continues to evolve. For example, in 2022 Plenitude presented Feeling the Energy, an immersive, multisensory journey that showed visitors how energy can be perceived through the five senses, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in efficient energy generation and consumption.

This year, with a focus on sharing themes and projects, Plenitude invited its partners and suppliers to the Brera Botanical Garden for an evening dedicated to exploring Eni’s “sunRICE – The Recipe of Happiness” project, reinforcing its commitment to a circular exchange of ideas, knowledge, and values.

Can a simple grain of rice be the perfect ingredient for happiness? Eni and Niko Romito, co-producers of the “Interni Cross Vision” exhibition from running 15 to 25 April, answer this question with an experiential path and an experimental installation at the Brera Botanical Garden, designed by CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati studio and the renowned architect Italo Rota, who passed away on 6 April.

The project’s philosophy

The sunRICE challenge revolves around a basic food item – a grain of rice – to explore core themes of transformative economies and well-being that are only achievable through skills and training. Underlining the importance of ongoing study and research, the project uses rice as both a metaphor and storytelling vehicle. Visitors can physically experience a full circular economy cycle starting with the rice plant, moving through its culinary uses, and concluding with the repurposing of its by-products as innovative architectural materials. The journey doesn’t stop there, because once the exhibition ends, the installation will transform into mulch, returning to the soil from where it all began. The circularity embodies the recipe for happiness, where nothing is wasted, and food serves as energy for both mind and body.

Inside the installation

The journey begins right at the doors of the Botanical Garden, where rice plants greet visitors in their natural habitat, the soil. The path quickly leads to their first culinary use, exemplified by a savoury biscuit developed for sunRICE by Niko Romito, his Taste Academy, and the Gastronomic Research Laboratory. This biscuit is described in detail, highlighting its main ingredients, from rice flour to other aromatic plants grown in the Garden like sage, rosemary, and fennel. The journey then transitions from a culinary ingredient to an architectural one. The primary material for the installation is rice husk, often discarded as a by-product, but here transformed by the Ricehouse start-up into a robust, entirely natural building material.

The themes of taste and nutrition introduce training, curiosity, and research as enablers of happiness and well-being, showcased through various educational paths at Eni and the Niko Romito Academy. This journey in search of happiness would not be complete without attention to the themes of circularity and re-use. Visitors learn how the structure’s components will be repurposed into natural mulch, promoting the growth of new plants by retaining moisture, supplying nutrients and hindering the growth of weeds without using synthetic substances. In this way, the disposal of materials at the end of the show turns from challenge into opportunity.

At the end of the journey in the relaxation area, the biscuit crafted by Niko Romito is offered for tasting, embodying the “useful creativity” which threads throughout the initiative, along with the themes of the search (and recipe) for happiness. As the exhibition’s concept suggests: “In a changing world, familiar elements can take on a completely new and unexpected meaning.

Link copied successfully
You may be interested in

SUSTAINABILITY • Article • 14 Dic 2023

Feeling the Energy: the charge of nature in all senses

Read more
1 /