Fernando Laposse's Totomoxtle shortlisted for the 2018 Beazley Designs of the Year

"The world market has forced the price of corn to reduce drastically. This has made traditional methods of harvesting corn not economically viable anymore."

Part of the Project

Central Saint Martins graduate and Future Food Award winner Fernando Laposse is changing the way we see a traditional Mexican staple, corn. His design has since been shortlisted for the 2018 Beazley Designs of the Year.

Since it was founded in 2008, hundreds of design experts from around the world nominate the most innovative and thought-provoking designs from the past 12 months.

Laposse’s project, Totomoxtle looks at a sustainable way to revitalise the traditional corn farming industry in Mexico by turning an otherwise discarded material, corn husks, into veneers.

Traditional corn farming is ingrained in the agricultural, social and economic makeup of Mexican people. So much so that there’s over 60 native varieties of various colours and shapes.

But the traditional way of farming has all but collapsed as a result of Mexico’s trade agreement with the USA.

To keep up with the industrial quantities of corn flooding into Mexico, which radically decreased the price of corn, Mexican farmers turned to modern methods – agrochemicals and mass production – to increase their yield. This has eroded the land and left many farmers destitute.

Naturally colourful, the veneers make unique furniture and interiors. “So the idea was to create something with the power of design to increase its perceived value,” the product designer explains.

For more, watch the interview above or see his Design Talk at the inaugural antenna, a global scan of design the world’s best design graduates.

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