“mum” project

Mithridatism happens to be the immunity condition to poison, which occurs by gradually self-administering non-lethal amounts of it. 

The term is derived from Mithridates VI, king of Pontus, who was so feared being poisoned that he regularly ingested small doses in order to become one with the substance, aiming to develop resistance.

The following project “mum” is a story of a clever resistance, a tale about adaptation, and a kind of deal with the enemy to end up stronger. 

“New nature, where ocean plastics are already part of our environment.

Can we see this as gift from “mum”?”


All images ©️PAN-PROJECTS

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Initially established in Copenhagen in 2017 and co-founded by the Japanese duo Yuriko Yagi and Kazumasa Takada, the (now) London-based PAN- PROJECTS is the architectural design studio behind the project “mum”, the dining-table concept commissioned by REMARE, a sustainable start-up in Japan that aims at the revaluation of sea waste.

As a matter of fact, the design project “mum” is far to be just a product.

“In a world where marine plastics have become part of the environment, "mum" redefines these materials and damaged fishing gear as blessings from the sea. Instead of conceiving ocean plastics as pollution, "mum" accepts them as part of a new nature”, state the founders of PAN- PROJECTS in what is a mind-changing approach to the sea waste issue.

The recycling process is linked to a “mirroring” action: ocean plastics have a unique character that differentiate them from factory-produced plastics. Fishing nets, wires or buoys take on the guise of the surfaces they float in, they are consumed by the salt developing uncommon scrapes on their “skins”, and they gain an individual character that is outside human control.



By being ready to embrace the material as it is, "mum" presents ocean plastics as a material from the natural world.


Scattered surface to simulate the movement of the sea, the place where the gift comes.

The mirroring effect is achieved by simulating the calm waves of the dark Japanese sea with a scattered surface, while telling the origin of the material by using a glossy plastic black for the sustainable table which highlights the preciousness of the ocean plastics - the gift from mum.


The title "mum" is derived from the traditional interpretation of Mother Nature in Japanese culture. 

“Japan, surrounded by the vast expanse of the sea, has always embraced the ocean before the land, celebrating the gifts bestowed upon them by the Mother Sea. The people live their lives, deriving their sustenance from the ocean” is reported by PAN- PROJECT talking about the core inspiration of the project. 

For the Japanese culture, the sea (海 umi) has historically played a central role in the development of the country, by being one of the biggest source of life and a bridge to the world. So now "Can we then, see ocean plastics as another gift from our Mother Sea?” (PAN- PROJECT).

The “New nature” - as the designers named it - is a new environment where ocean plastics have become part of the natural landscape. 

The destruction that the Anthropocene age has brought to nature, which has now been largely decreed irreversible, has given birth to unexpected scenarios and new riches. 

Provocatively, this is not so far from the truth. 

Imagine the near future, when our society has banned the production of plastics, people will need to harvest plastics from the sea just like they harvest seafood. As its recovery becomes the norm, will there still be a difference between harvesting fish, oysters, seaweed... and marine plastics?

By working closely with the local fishing community - which makes a living by harvesting food from the ocean - the studio invites to conceive by-products - as nets, wires, ropes, buoys - as actual products of the fishing industry, just like a new valuable resource that from the sea returns to his sender, who is called to harvest them as well, in order to create beauty by transforming them. 


In “mum”, the transforming process stays true to the nature of the product itself, trying to respect the raw material as its finest, as it was wood, steel or stone. The material’s outstanding dark color results from the fishermen’s equipment being mostly discarded after a short period of use and the shape takes its main inspiration by the wave-like Irregular texture that ocean plastic inevitably generates in its recycling process.

As with Mithridates, the danger of the poison is discouraged by a conceptual activity around discarding. 

By realizing that the phenomenon of pollution has reached irreversible peaks, the designer changes course and plunges headlong into the problem, alienating it through an unusual stance: we embrace you as a new resource, pollution!


Images courtesy of PAN- PROJECT


Completion YearDecember 2022
Project LocationMie, Japan
MaterialOcean Plastic (abandoned fishing gears)
Lead DesignerYuriko Yagi, Kazumasa Takada, Esin Kütülü
Manufacturer & ClientRemare.Inc
Photo creditsPAN-PROJECTS