This sponsored post is brought to you by Lexus. Announced at the Lexus Design Event 2016 during Milan Design Week, AGAR PLASTICITY is the Grand Prix winner for the fourth annual Lexus Design Award. The innovative concept from the Japanese team of AMAM – Kosuke Araki, Noriaki Maetani, Akira Muraoka – finds a major new use for agar, a jelly-like substance extracted from red algae that is often used as an ingredient in Japanese cuisine. In keeping with this year’s theme – Anticipation – AMAM envisions a future in which ubiquitous packaging materials harmlessly biodegrade when discarded.
AGAR PLASTICITY and three other prototype finalists were chosen from among 1,232 entries from 73 countries. Last January, each of the prototype winners were partnered with an internationally renowned design mentor, granted a 2.5 million yen budget, and tasked with creating a working prototype of their concept for the Lexus Design Event in Milan. The AGAR PLASTICITY team worked with the UK’s Max Lamb, a product designer and design instructor at the Royal College of Art. Using his expert knowledge of unconventional materials and manufacturing processes, Lamb encouraged his mentees to consider broader possibilities by mixing agar with other natural materials like seashells.
The three runner-up prototype finalists include reconfigurable clothing constructed with a modular fashion textile (Shape Shifters), a clock that continually marks the present moment with a fleeting visual event (TRACE), and a building block toy that opens up imagination by transcending rigid, right-angle geometry (DADA).
Kosuke Araki, Noriaki Maetani, Akira Muraoka
An elite judging panel evaluated the four prototypes: Paola Antonelli (senior curator, MoMa, New York), Aric Chen (curator, M+ Museum, Hong Kong), Toyo Ito (Pritzker Prize-winning architect), Birgit Lohmann (chief editor, designboom), Alice Rawsthorn (design commentator), and Tokuo Fukuichi (president, Lexus International).