fusing traditional cultural handicrafts & modern technology
‘Less, Light, Local’ by we+ explores the potential of uncommercial seaweed by breathing new life into discarded and inedible Ita Nori sheets. Making use of ARAKAWA GRIP technology alongside local materials while drawing inspiration from traditional Japanese craft techniques, the project brings out seaweed’s inherent qualities of lightness and sustainability. The result is a series of captivating installations and luminous sculptures that offer fresh perspectives on the utilization of the food, which would otherwise go to waste, as a design material. All the while, the project pays homage to Ita Nori’s deep-rooted cultural heritage and handicrafts that it derives from.
all images courtesy of we+
we+ poses a natural design material
Tokyo-based studio we+ conceived ‘Less, Light, Local’ as a design solution to Japan’s growing quantity of inedible seaweed at the hands of climate change. As the world’s largest consumer of seaweed, Japan is facing a concerning dilemma as rising temperatures and changes in ocean currents and ecosystems have led to numerous seaweeds growing wilted and lacking in nutrients. Many species have been left unsuitable for human consumption, leading to their combustion and wastage.
we+ in particular sought to revitalize Ita Nori, an otherwise edible seaweed sheet used for sushi and rice balls with a deep connection to traditional Japanese craftsmanship. The project focuses on capturing the sheet-like and delicate yet sturdy properties, fusing the traditional handcrafted paper-making technique with the ARAKAWA Grip technology which creates luminous spaces by combining different materials. ‘The product demonstrates the wisdom of our ancestors, who conserved limited resources without waste and appreciated the gustatory qualities of this product,’ notes the team.
name: Less, Light, Local
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edited by: ravail khan | designboom