Sugar survival

02 : 07 : 2015 Trehalose : Jaime Tai : Central St Martins

London – At the Central Saint Martins graduate show, Jaime Tai examined biological solutions for human survival in the face of climate change.

  • Tai experimented with trehalose, a natural sugar that conserves water from cells
  • Combining design and science, she created a tangible range of remedies
Trehalose by Jaime Tai at Central St Martins, London Trehalose by Jaime Tai at Central St Martins, London
Trehalose by Jaime Tai at Central St Martins, London Trehalose by Jaime Tai at Central St Martins, London
Trehalose by Jaime Tai at Central St Martins, London Trehalose by Jaime Tai at Central St Martins, London
Trehalose by Jaime Tai at Central St Martins, London Trehalose by Jaime Tai at Central St Martins, London

In the face of climate change in which many regions of the world are experiencing water shortages, Tai, a Material Futures graduate, posed the question: how might we respond to a drought-stricken future?

She imagined that in 2050, we might use trehalose-based products to stay alive and envisaged how they would work and fit into the context of everyday life.

Creating micro-encapsulated clothing and a range of skincare products embedded with trehalose, a natural sugar that protects cells from dehydration, Tai built tangible solutions to overcome the problem. Under the label TretSk1n, the collection of products also comprises electronic tattoos to track hydration levels, telling users when they may need to re-apply.

‘Given that water is an increasingly precious resource, I feel that it is vital to explore alternative solutions now,’ Tai tells LS:N Global.

The Big Picture: In the spirit of Whole-system Thinking, designers are exploring long-term solutions to environmental issues.