Pigment from the sea

With their project Nori Pigment: Pigment from the Sea, Tokyo-based design studio Studio Bycolor explored the black hues of seaweed. Through experimentation in color extraction, the team has uncovered the pivotal role of phycoerythrin in oceanic photosynthesis.

The project aimed to unravel the essence of seaweed itself through the lens of pigment exploration, by deconstructing the black colour. The blacker nori seaweed is, the higher its grade. Like a mixture of red, blue and black pigments of paint produce black, the same is true for nori. Its ‘ingredients’ are red, green, and blue pigments, consisting of phycoerythrin (red), chlorophyll (green), phycocyanin (blue), and carotenoid (yellow, orange or red).

Through experiments to extract the colour, phycoerythrin, which is important for photosynthesis, was used in works using cotton, silk and wool as media, as well as traditional Japanese paper making, which led to the creation of the laver sheet.

Photos: Studio Bycolor