Lacy, laser-cut seaweed sheets

This "designer nori" laser-cut seaweed was created by the Japanese ad agency I&SBBDO for a client whose sushi-wrapper business flagged in the post-tsunami economic trough. Jeannie Huang writes,

Each pattern is meant to symbolize good fortune, happiness, and longevity, etc. and the result is a delicate, unexpected reinvention of the classic Japanese food with a modern twist. The patterns are crisp, and when incorporated into the rolls, they create a sharp contrast between the dark seaweed and the white grains of rice within. They’ve entered (and won) a number of ad/design contests for this phenomenal work.

Designer Nori: Delicate Laser Cut Seaweed Patterns

UMINO SEAWEED SHOP | SHOWCASE | I&S BBDO [warning: autoplays music]

(via Make)


  1. I really like how this looks. But I’m surprised the nori doesn’t crumble into pieces with that much material removed. A sheet of nori seems so much more fragile than paper, for example.

    1. I agree, handmade sushi never looks that round or that perfect.  In real life this would look like when I wrap presents — crumpled and uneven.

    2.  Since they know they are removing so much, perhaps they make it out of thicker than usual material?

    3. Nah, nori can be quite strong, tough and flexible, especially when slightly damp. The pattern images on the linked site show a type of nori that can be quite difficult to break/take a bite out of/chew. There are so many different types of nori for different applications: baked, raw and steamed, intended to be used as is or to be dipped in soup…

      1. What I think they are trying to say is that this food is a Korean food, not a Japanese one and that we should refer to it by its alleged correct name of “gimbap”.

        What 장정욱 needs to do is stop perpetuating the never-ending claims that Korea invented everything, ever and realise that a large proportion of cultural artifacts and products that Korea claims as theirs are a result of years of propaganda disseminated during South Korea’s years of military rule, as well as idiotic nationalists who are in a continual battle to prove they are better than the Japanese – even through blatant lies.

        @facebook-1106124625:disqus : see this bro and seriously… STFU

    1. A real life VANKer in the house!
      Please, tell us how you invented sushi, sumo, samurai, Mt. Fuji, the hamburger and Jesus. Please explain how you invented Kanji for the Chinese … but then for some reason changed it to Hangul. Please explain that you used to rule China, India, and built the pyramids. I am sure a “google search” will vindicate you.

      At least you are correct – Sushi is not Korea’s food.. though they do produce an imitation of it, called gimbap.

  2. Seems straightforward enough. Hope they have good ventilation in their laser system though, else the smell of burnt seaweed might get to be a  bit much after a while.

    1. If it’s not, there’s some kind of liner in there to hold it together.  It’s not supposed to be a functional product, just an ad image.

      1. Agreed, this is not only unrealistic structurally but inedible!  I’ve tried laser cutting different types of food, and while things can come out looking cool, they’re not fit for consumption– the temperatures are so much higher than any cooking process, so the result is acrid, horrible smelling (and presumably tasting) chemicals.

  3. my question with all awesome stuff like this–
    Why is there never a clear hint available as to if items are commercially available or not….It is much more satisfying to see ‘concept piece’ or ‘limited promotional release’ or ‘available in the EU’ than no information at all about its production and sale.  Hell-even after the fact I’d be interested to know from the designers if this was more a proof of concept or production work.

    1. As anti says above, this is not a real product. Even if it were there is no way it would be good because the nori (dried seaweed) is there to stop the rice sticking to your hands and everything else. You know what some enterprising company needs to do? Print these patterns in white on clear food-grade plastic and WRAP the normal sushi in that plastic, thereby creating the same effect without destroying its functionality.

      A lot of these patterns are reminiscent of traditional patterns used in Kimono:

  4. seems wasteful to me to etch that much out of the sheets.  i’d think etching just a 1″ edge (or even 1/2″) would be enough to convey the beauty/message, leaving the rest of the sheet to be more functional/nutritious.

  5. Fun fact! Farthest fully visible role on the left is the Japanese “hemp” pattern. Just uh… throwin’ that out there. 

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