Summer is a season filled with cottage escapes, al fresco dining and cocktails on rooftop terraces. But it’s also damn hot. And when lakeside breezes and bone-chilling AC won’t cut it, our minds go to one place: gelato. Except, the Italian treat isn’t available everywhere.
That’s a problem Italian product design firm Ifi hopes to solve with PopApp, a tiny gelato stand that can be deployed in unusual spaces. The goal, says the company, is to “not only take gelato anywhere in the world, but also the flavour of Italian design.”
At first glance, PopApp – which recently won a 2018 Compasso D’Oro, one of industrial design’s most prestigious awards – doesn’t resemble a gelato stand at all. Instead, it more closely evokes a piece of flat-pack furniture, which is intentional; it was designed to be compact and transportable, and when not in operation, PopApp is only 3.5 square metres. But when in use, the stand expands into a 5.14-square-metre workstation with everything needed to make, store and sell gelato.
Here’s PopApp in action.
Inspired by pop-up books, PopApp springs open to reveal a six-item gelato showcase, a sink with a self-sufficient water source and LED-lit countertops made from Krion K-Life, an anti-bacterial mineral compact surface manufactured by Porcenalosa. The design is strikingly simple, consisting of three interlocking elements, with retractable panels shielding service areas when not in use.
Beneath the counter, there are multiple electrical outlets, compartments for storing empty containers and a batch freezer. Impressively, the entire gelato stand only requires a single power outlet to work – meaning that it can be used for pop-ups, hotel rooftops or, well, places where gelato typically isn’t found. It’s minimal, to be certain, but Ifi says its research and development staff developed PopApp to meet the ergonomic needs of professional gelato chefs.