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We Plus Less Light Local Ita Nori Installation Yellowtrace 09Details from We+’s seaweed light box installation.

 

 

Contemporary design studio We+ has completed a research project that brings new value to discarded and non-edible nori seaweed. The Japanese creatives have found an ingenious solution to a man-made problem—we’re talking about climate change, of course.

The project was a natural fit for We+, a diverse group of designers, engineers, researchers and writers that look to the natural environment and values that are often forgotten in today’s society to explore the possibilities of alternative design.

As the world’s largest consumer of seaweed, Japan has a rich history of seaweed processing technologies that produce a wide variety of edible seaweeds. Among these, ITA NORI, an edible seaweed sheet used for sushi and rice balls is a unique product with a deep connection to traditional Japanese craftsmanship.

 

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Dating back to the Edo period and derived from Japanese handmade paper-making techniques, the process showcases the culture’s history of conservation in times of limited resources.

In recent years, rising water temperatures and changes in ocean currents and ecosystems have led to numerous seaweeds growing wilted and lacking in nutrients. Inedible and not for human consumption or commercial use has led to their combustion and wastage.

 

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We Plus Less Light Local Ita Nori Installation Yellowtrace 18Various prototype shapes and materials from We+’s Ita Nori seaweed experimentation.

 

The design studio created a series of installations to highlight two overlooked qualities in the food source as a material—its lightness and sustainability. Utilising Arakawa grip wire cables, the series draws on these traditional Japanese handcrafted techniques, using local materials to create this simple design.

It not only explores the future of products but also presents new ways of using ITA NORI as a new material, which we’re glad to hear is attracting interest from around the world.

 

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