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Houses made of food waste: what next?

In a glimpse into our architectural future, Dubai Design Week (7-12 November 2023) has featured a series of biomaterial installations, including a teahouse made from food waste.

In fact, there was a noticeable trend for many of the installations to be constructed from biomaterials – materials derived from living organisms such as plants, animals and fungi. These ranged from the more common ones such as wood and paper, to quite experimental materials.

While some installations were created purely as a piece of decorative design, most were intended to function as an example of how biomaterials can be used to create more sustainable, functional structures, like a tea house.

Designed by Japanese studio Mitsubishi Jisho Design, the Arabi-An Tea House was made using local food waste and aims to bring people together by hosting tea ceremonies in the purpose-built structure.

Constructed out of paper and food waste, the pavilion features joint connectors made from tea and grapes. The materials were dried, turned into a powder and then heat-pressed into moulds made in collaboration with a Japanese metal-alloy crafter.

“We collect waste from factories, food they can’t sell, and it is ground into powder,” co-designer De Yuan Kang told press at the launch of the installation.

“One thing that we want to emphasise is that we have not added any other materials to this, it’s just pure food waste.”

The pavilion is the latest in a series by Mitsubishi Jisho Design after showcasing a food-waste teahouse in Venice called Veneti-An. The studio aims to eventually use the technique to create larger or more permanent structures.

“This is a very good opportunity because we do it on a smaller scale to test things that can be done on a bigger scale next time,” Kang said.

Image: Cajsa Carlson

About Adam Nobel

CEO | Principal
M. Bus, Grad Dip Adv, B.Int Bus, LREA


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Adam is the founder and Principal of Hugo Alexander Property Group. With a previous career in advertising, 22 years experience in property investment, and 16 years in Brisbane real estate, he knows the market inside out to ensure his clients grow their wealth faster.

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