Neo-Emotions: A hyperconsumerist tale in a dystopian Milan | Master thesis by Stavros Sgouros

Ιn Master thesis “Neo-Emotions: A hyperconsumerist tale in a dystopian Milan, Stavros Sgouros proposes the creation of temporary retail spaces selling specific emotions. Located in the hearth of Milan, in Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, 5 different pavilions are designed, based on Paul Ekman’s five emotions “Enjoyment, Fear, Anger, Disgust, Sadness”. In this scenario “emotions are treated as a consumerist product” , giving the users the chance to collect, sell or buy them. 

In the context of a larger research thesis that discusses “emotions as a consumerist product”, this project is a design proposal for the megalopolis of Milan, that aims to create temporary retail spaces selling specific emotions.

The most suitable place for a project/commentary would be the Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II. The project is located right in the “heart of Milan.” We are living in a not-so-distant future, where consumerism has taken over and the most important human trait has become a product itself.

Emotions are rare. Emotions are collected. Emotions are sold.

The Activities

_Users are selling their emotional memories at the “Emotional Selling Points.”

_These emotional memories are becoming public digital artwork with the use of Artificial Intelligence at the “Fast Museum of Memories.”

_Users are able to buy emotions in temporary pavilions selling “The Special Emotion of the Month.”

The center of the site is occupied by 5 different pavilions, rotating through the year. Paul Ekman’s five emotions are becoming special treats. Enjoyment, Fear, Anger, Disgust, Sadness.

Emotional Selling Points

The East and West wings are welcoming the users to a floral space covered in artificial massive flower balloons. Through these over-scaled balloons one can find screens in the place of the old shop windows with A.I. assistants welcoming the users and asking them to sell their old memories.

Fast Museum of Memories

The central axis, South and North wings, are transformed into an openair museum. Giant flower seeds are hung in the air, and they are ready to blossom. These clear pillar-flowers are a form of museum display, overexaggerated and new-age. In the previous stage the memories were collected, and, in this stage, they become A.I. generated art, enjoyed by the publics.

The System

The theme of the “Big Brother” is a recurring subject in many dystopian movies. A system that needs to oversee and control everything. A huge heart levitating and overseeing. This heart is the “brain” of this intervention. A watch-it-all master that pulls all the strings.

“Enjoyment” Pavilion

The “Enjoyment” pavilion is designed specifically to represent moments of childhood happiness. A massive teddy bear occupying the center of Galleria. A pink fury giant welcoming guests in its heart.

In the interior there is a second structure divided in two levels. The level on the ground hosts a series of vending machines, as a reference to the fast-shopping process, selling the “special emotion of the month.”

The second level hosts the “Consumption Salon”, a watchtower type of space where the users can ascend through a ramp, pack their “new” emotions, and use the special machines on top to consume them.

“Fear” Pavilion

The second pavilion designed is dedicated to the emotion of “Fear.” Three porcelain marionette human heads watching the space through every corner.

The interior is again divided in two levels. The ground level is home to a slew of vending machines that sell the “special emotion of the month,” and the second level houses a different version of the “Consumption Salon,” where users can consume their “freshly bought” emotions.

Credits & Details

Student: Stavros Sgouros 
Project: Neo-Emotions: A hyperconsumerist tale in a dystopian Milan
Program: MSc in Interior and Spatial Design
Politecnico di Milano