How Studio Volpi helped design, engineer and market a ground-breaking counter-top “gelato” machine.

TooA’s brand promise is quite enticing, and an ambitious one for the Italian startup from Fabriano: an authentic Italian “gelato” in only 3 minutes, and in the comfort of your own home! But if technically a startup, investors in the company are international household names in the appliances industry. Their expertise and extensive knowledge of both market and technology were instrumental in the success of what constitutes a truly revolutionary innovation in the field.

Gelato anyone?


Studio Volpi’s task was, on one hand, to help TooA deliver on its promise, producing a machine compact enough to sit on a counter, and which would prepare a single serving of artisan-quality Italian style “gelato” in 3 minutes. On the other hand the Studio was also to produce communication materials and design TooA’s showroom and store in Milan.

On the technical side, the technology capable of pulling off the trick had already been acquired by TooA, and the Studio started focusing on engineering it into a compact, attractive design.





A multidisciplinary approach


The Studio had its engineering and design teams work together on the project, giving each other constant feedback and stimuli. The Studio also made extensive use of VR, especially to have a precise idea of volumes and dimensions in relation to a home interior context. 

Virtual reality allowed for highly realistic renderings, and the client was able to have the best possible idea of how its product would actually look and how it would fit into people’s homes, which greatly helped its final choice of design.

The ancient art of italian gelato making


After designing an attractive, sleek counter-top machine, the team yet had to make it produce artisan quality “gelato”, and this in a record 180 seconds time frame. Now, traditional Italian ice-cream is all about savoir faire, and that means selecting the best ingredients and hitting the right balance and dosage. Furthermore, it involves a process known as creaming, while cooling down the ingredients to a freezing temperature. In this, Studio Volpi was seconded by a true expert in the field, an authentic Italian master “gelatiere”, who helped creating a variety of modern, appealing flavours using the best and most natural ingredients, packaged in single-serve Tetra PakTM cartons, the TooA Briks, to protect their freshness and integrity.


UXP at its best, and simplest


The principle behind TooA’s gelato is similar to that of espresso machines, only here a carton is used instead of a pre-loaded pod. TooA Briks don’t need to be refrigerated and can be stored at ambient temperature.


Using the machine is simple: a matrix code on the carton is scanned either through a dedicated app on the user’s cellphone or device.


Then the user only needs to follow the instructions, pour the content into the device, press the start button and wait 3 minutes for a delicious gelato.


TooA’s showroom and flagship store


Located at a premium spot in the heart of Milan, TooA’s showroom and store offers visitors an intense, inspiring experience. Studio Volpi collaborated to the design of the space, which extends over two floors, again with the help of VR. On the ground floor, a giant 98” screen tells the emotional story of TooA.


The full range of products is on display, and customers can personalise their machine through tablet configurators. They can also have a taste of TooA’s unique gelato in the most refined flavours, including savoury. The mezzanine overlooking the store is the perfect location for the branded “instagram opportunity” selfie-spot.

The TooA Lab on the first floor offers a full TooA experience to visitors, with two of the walls made up by light boxes. Another giant screen reveals the technical side of TooA. Guests are invited to move some objects, equipped with nfc tags, and place them at the center of the counter below the screen to start a video related to the objects they chose, for example explaining all the ingredients and their origin. A special TooA machine sits at the center of the room. It is a real machine, but one that can be completely taken apart, as components are held together by magnets, to have a hands-on experience of TooA’s inner secrets. 

The taste of innovation


TooA’s innovative design and concept have been so impactful that Mestre’s “Museo del 900” wanted a specimen of the machine to put on display. For Studio Volpi, possibly the best recognition for its engagement and competences in collaborating to the project.