The new techno-culinary frontiers generate unprecedented gestures, rituals and opportunities for conviviality. The illustrated story of the Barilla BluRhapsody spin-off in the XL volume “The Usual but Better. The design of the 3D printed pasta”

Ingredients: durum wheat semolina, water. Description: durum wheat semolina pasta, extruded in 3D... If it weren't for the final 3D written on the elegant and precious packaging that bears the "BluRhapsody" brand. Reinventing the art of making pasta. By Barilla”, one might think of an exclusive gourmet pasta (and to all intents and purposes it is, but not only).

“On a sensorial journey where ideas take new forms and forms evoke new emotions – writes Valentina Parravicini Marketing & Manager Business Development of the brand - BluRhapsody presents a revolutionary collection of 3D printed pasta on the market, which generates a sense of wonder...

Years of study and preparation have shaped every detail, from shape to consistency, from aesthetics to flavour, creating the conditions for an unprecedented culinary experience".

The XL format volume entitledThe Usual but Better. The design of the 3D printed pasta (limited edition of 1000 copies in Italian and 500 in English) is a tribute to the art of making and reinventing pasta, a journey between creativity, design, technology, production and marketing.

The story of a project, BluRhapsody precisely, of "unique gastronomic and technological avant-garde that lends itself to being shaped by collaborations with chefs, artists, designers and enthusiasts who want to participate and create a new way of interpreting the pasta free from the mold and projected into the future" we read in the contribution of Michela Petronio RD Technology, Process, Packaging Research and Laboratories Director, Barilla.

To accompany the story and insights, the images of the photographer Roberto Savio (also responsible for the creative direction), illustrate the interpretations of the chef Beatrice Buzzi .

On food design

Food is nourishment, but also aesthetic and gustatory pleasure, a means of communication, a marketing object that must satisfy a complex, personalized and increasingly hungry market (including for pasta).

Talking about the relationship between food and design, that is, the relationship between the idea of ​​design transformation and its concrete (or speculative) results "in the specific case of pasta it does not just mean designing what we put on the plate, but also deal with everything that links the dish to the world", writes Stefano Maffei Director Master Design for Food, Professor School of Design, Polytechnic of Milan in his introduction to the volume.

3D printing of food

“3D printing is nothing more than a sac à poche aided by a robotic plate, which moves following the instructions given, superimposing the fluid material with which it is loaded layer upon layer”, simplifies Antonio Gagliardi Head of Design & Technology BluRhapsody (and food-nerd) who since the beginning of the project has been experimenting with the potential of an activity that he defines as "digital craftsmanship": in fact 3D printing allows you to print only 9 pieces at a time, therefore the deposition must be precise, he explains.

“When we decided to investigate the technologies to create impossible pasta shapes (with traditional methods), 3D printing was immediately one of the first possibilities to explore”.

The key points, however, had to remain the ingredients (high quality durum wheat semolina and water), no binders or additional chemical agents in the dough; respect for the gastronomic principles of pasta, al dente and the intense flavor of durum wheat.

And then practical questions to resolve: "how do you stick one layer on top of the other considering that the next layer does not rest completely on the previous one? How do you prevent the format from collapsing as deposition proceeds, increasing the total weight of the format? After endless days of patiently observing four nozzles depositing a piece of spaghetti into space, the process began to work."

Collaborations with chefs (but not only) and future visions

To the aesthetic potential opened up by 3D printing, there are added nutritional ones. The BluRhapsody project, explains Michela Petronio, "also represents a unique gastronomic and technological avant-garde that lends itself to being shaped by collaborations with chefs, artists, designers and enthusiasts".

Antonio Gagliardi looks to the future: "imagine being able to design your meal not only based on taste or appearance, but also based on your specific dietary needs. With 3D printing this is no longer a distant future.

Foods can be enriched with vitamins, minerals, or even adapted to meet particular dietary restrictions, without compromising flavor or aesthetics.

The collaborative process between chefs, designers and engineers is fundamental in this exploratory journey. Together, they push the limits of what is possible, expertly blending science, technology and art. Chefs bring their deep understanding of ingredients and culinary techniques, designers offer a unique aesthetic vision, while engineers provide the technological knowledge to transform creative visions into tangible realities.”