Futuristic Urban Algae Folly grows food, fuel and shade

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The future of food is green. Really green. We first saw a prototype of the Urban Algae Folly in 2014 at the Fuorisalone in Italy, but London-based ecoLogicStudio has taken this innovative concept to new heights for the Milan Expo.

Located near the entrance of the Future Food District, this futuristic design showcases the intersection of food, design and energy like you've never seen it before. Hit the jump to learn how harvestable, edible food is embedded in the canopy's infrastructure, and why the sun is such an important ingredient.

Visitors to Milan Expo 2015 have an opportunity to interact with the Urban Algae Folly pavilion, which incorporates micro algae into its facade comprised of EFTE cushions.

“Microalgae, in this instance Spirulina, are exceptional photosynthetic machines,” writes ecoLogicStudio. “They contain nutrients that are fundamental to the human body, such as minerals and vegetable proteins; microalgae also oxygenate the air and can absorb CO2 from the urban atmosphere ten times more effectively than large trees.”

Because Spirulina loves sun so much, sunnier conditions produce more algae, which produces more mass inside the skin, which in turn results in more shade. But the bio-digital canopy, designed specifically for urban environments but theoretically effective in rural areas as well, also generates food and fuel.

As population growth and diminishing resources collide, the Urban Algae Folly scaled up could offer a solution. And while this may not look like the most appetizing solution, the canopy offers another valuable environmental service that may appeal to you–carbon sequestration.

If you visit Milan, make sure to head over to this unusual pavilion to enjoy the novel experience of harvesting algae for dinner.

Futuristic Urban Algae Folly grows food, fuel and shade