L E X U S D E S I G N A W A R D S AMAM – comprising Kosuke Araki, Noriaki Maetani and Akira Muraoka – developed their Agar Plasticity as a project exploring how agar, a gelatinous material obtained from marine algae, can be used as an environmentally friendly packaging material as an alternative to plastic. Members of the judging panel described the agar project as a bold and ambitious experiment that aims to address one of the biggest pollution problems of our time. The trio has made tremendous progress during the course of the award cycle, particularly in devising a wide range of possible practical applications for the material. They were contemporaries studying at Tokyo’s Tama Art University’s Product Design Department during the same period. Araki (Design Products) and Maetani (Innovation Design Engineering) also undertook a master’s course at the Royal College of Art in London. Seaweed-derived agar is traditionally consumed as food in Japan, and is used in scientific and medical applications worldwide. Sold in a dry state, it has a porous, feathery structure and is very light, despite its volume. They took note of these features and have been exploring its potential for use as a packaging material.
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