Tomato architecture: CRA designs new factory for Mutti

CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati wins international competition to design the new industrial plant of Italian food company Mutti. The project features a pavilion with walls made up of tomato-sauce glass jars and a public terrace overlooking 5,500 tons of fresh tomatoes being processed per day.

International design and innovation practice CRA-Carlo Ratti Associati has won the international competition to design the headquarters and master plan for Mutti, one of the world’s leading tomato brands.

The project aims to open up the factory to the public, and features a 400-foot long (120-meter long) new visitor centre whose walls, marked by the Mutti logo, are made up of tomato-sauce glass jars. On the top of this building there is a public terrace overlooking thousands of fresh tomatoes being processed live – 300,000 tons each year, up to 5,500 tons per day. Freshly harvested vegetables are poured down in tons into the wash basins, allowing visitors to admire the sight of millions of tomatoes falling down in an endless “red cascade”.

“We were inspired by Pablo Neruda’s poem ‘Oda al Tomate’, which is also one of Mutti’s slogans.
’La calle se llenó de tomates’ (‘The street was filled with tomatoes’) is a way to show how the factory can open up and project outwards.”
Carlo Ratti, Founding Partner of CRA and Director of the MIT Senseable City Lab

The 2.5 million square-foot (250,000 square-meter) master plan overhauls a series of production facilities, at the same time setting up improved environments for workers, employees and visitors alike. The project rethinks the factory’s relationship with the surrounding landscape, aiming to become a destination in Montechiarugolo, near Parma, at the core of Italy’s “Food Valley”.