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This story made the internet rounds last April and despite having been featured on such popular sites as Dvice, Designboom and Incredible Things, I had to share it in case you are one of the few who missed it. Even if you've seen these beautifully laser cut nori (seaweed) sushi rolls before, they're worth looking at again. Plus, I have some additional information, like the design credits and where they can be purchased.
Initially designed to help Japan's Umino Seaweed Shop increase sales after the 2011 Tsunami, the designer nori, which uses a thicker type of seaweed from from the Sanriku area of Miyagi, is now featured in 'Katagami Style’ an exhibit of 19th century Japanese stencil artwork, at the Mitsubishi Ichigokan Museum in Tokyo.
The series of intricately laser-cut seaweed for rolling sushi comes in sheets of various designs:
'sakura' ('cherry blossoms') and 'mizutama' ('water drops'):
'asanoha' ('hemp'), 'kikkou' ('turtle shell'):
and 'kumikkou' ('tortoise shell'):
and is based on an element of japanese history or symbology, meant to bring beauty, good fortune, growth, happiness, and longevity.
However, the packaged designs available at the museum for the Katagami exhibit are five different ones, as shown below:
The laser-cut nori has been credited to agency I&S BBDO Tokyo (who designed the promotional materials shown below), but the actual laser-cutting is now being outsourced elsewhere. The project won the 2012 best of show Design Lotus for promotional materials at Adfest in Thailand.
Company: I&S BBDO Inc., Tokyo
Title : DESIGN NORI (SEAWEED)
Advertiser: UMINO SEAWEED STORE
Advertising Agency: I&S BBDO Inc., Tokyo
Executive Creative Director: Yoshihisa Ogata
Creative Director: Kenichiro Shigetomi
Copywriter: Kiyoyuki Enomoto/Ririko Murata
Art Director: Kenichiro Shigetomi
Designer: Kenichiro Shigetomi/Takuto Kawata
above: Hiroyuki Umino, director of Umino Seaweed
The pieces themselves are available for sale only through the retail location (#5261 Isohama-cho, Oarai, IBARAKI, JAPAN) and at the exhibition, currently for the price of 840 yen (approximately 10 $USD) each. In the future, Umino hopes to produce the nori on a larger scale and at lower cost.
Umino seaweed store:
address: #5261 Isohama-cho, Oarai, IBARAKI, JAPAN
images courtesy of Rocket News and The Inspiration Room and Monkeyzen