a new “silicon valley” for the circular economy in the cocoa industry
valentino gareri workshop designed a modular and sustainable village in manabi, Ecuador, made from 3d printed cocoa waste. created for the chocolate maker MUZE cacao and the non-profit organization avanti, the project will be the “silicon valley” for innovators of the circular economy; a space for inventions and a testing ground for agtech, fintech, foodtech, startups and companies; manufacturers, producers and researchers. the complex is taking shape as a global network of sustainable and smart villages, a carbon neutral destination and innovation center for the circular economy in the cocoa industry, a cohabitation space allowing actors of change to connect, co-create, be inspired and stimulate social impact.
all images courtesy of denis guchev
modular, sustainable, connected
the design by valentino gareri atelier (find out more here) incorporates five fundamental principles. first of all, it is modular, which means that it is scalable, reproducible and adaptable to different sites, sizes and geometries. moreover, it is fully functional – the village will function as a cocoa processing factory, a chocolate factory, an education and research center, a cultural and cohabitation point of reference for the local community and a conscious tourist destination. it is also durable, serving as a self-sufficient village made from local materials such as bamboo, wood, and 3D printed structures made from cocoa hull waste biofilaments. the project is also compatible with technology, using blockchain, IoT and NFTs. last but not least, the cocoa eco-village is bound to the local community and its traditions.
draw on local tradition and cocoa trees
“We pushed the fundamentals of the circular economy so much that they informed the design philosophy of the whole project. the cocoa waste, the result of the chocolate production process, will be reused for the 3d printing of parts of the village. waste is not only transformed into a resource, but into architecture. in the not-so-distant future, we will be able to design buildings entirely from natural materials and recycle them at the end of their life cycle to either create new ones or return them to nature. ‘ sharing valentino gareri. the facades are inspired by the wide range of multicolored Ecuadorian houses and the colorful fruits of the cocoa trees. the shape of the buildings facilitates the collection of rainwater: the water reservoirs are integrated into the roofs, the shape of which is inspired by local Ecuadorian artistic motifs.
the village has a dense network of cycle-pedestrian boulevards, and the use of electric vehicles is strongly encouraged with the presence of charging stations, while the transits of cars and trucks are limited only around the factory and of the production area. this new class of sustainable and smart infrastructure assets appears as a solution for the environmental and social impact of the cocoa industry, using a circular economy model as a creative solution to reduce the environmental footprint, generate increased revenues, reduce dependence on resources and minimize waste.