The TATAMI ReFAB PROJECT Is A Product Of Fusing Japanese Traditions With 3D-Printed Sustainability

At the prestigious Salone Del Milano 2023 in Milan, Italy, the design lab HONOKA showcased their innovative TATAMI ReFAB PROJECT furniture series. This project, conceived by a team of forward-thinking product designers, leverages advanced manufacturing techniques like 3D printing to breathe new life into traditional Japanese tatami mats. The result is a fusion of heritage and cutting-edge technology that reintroduces the essence of tatami into contemporary living spaces.

Designer: HONOKA LAB

Tatami mats have been a staple of Japanese interiors for centuries, renowned for their aromatic qualities, humidity regulation, and odor reduction capabilities. HONOKA’s project aims to integrate these traditional benefits into modern furniture design. By blending recycled tatami with biodegradable plastic, they have created a sustainable material that is both adaptable and durable. This innovative composite can be 3D printed into a variety of functional and decorative home products, embodying the future of artisanal design while retaining a distinct connection to Japanese culture.

One of the key highlights of this project is its commitment to sustainability. Traditional tatami production often results in significant material waste, with nearly half of the plant-based material discarded. Honoka addresses this issue by recycling tatami waste and combining it with biodegradable plastic, significantly reducing the environmental impact. This material is not only eco-friendly but also versatile, allowing designers to explore new aesthetic possibilities and create unique forms that enhance modern living spaces.

The collection features several distinctive pieces that exemplify the versatility and beauty of the tatami-resin composite:


These knitted tatami-resin furniture pieces reinterpret traditional Japanese shapes and textures through 3D printing. The unique structure of these items offers moderate transparency and varying visual expressions depending on the viewing angle. They are sturdy enough to support glass and other heavy materials, making them ideal for dining tables.


Inspired by the traditional Japanese “Sen-suji” pattern, this stool combines multiple 3D-printed parts. The vertical pattern of the elastic and durable tatami-mixed resin provides a resilient and comfortable seating experience.


A lighting fixture designed to resemble bundled grass, TABA uses a dripping technique in its 3D printing process. The tatami-mixed resin diffuses light beautifully, with light spilling through the gaps in its branches, creating a soft, natural ambiance.


This self-standing basin, inspired by the Japanese “Tachiwaki” pattern, features multiple stripes created by varying the purging speed of the 3D printer. Its water-resistant nature makes it suitable for innovative bathroom designs.


A stool that draws from the traditional Japanese “Asanoha” pattern, it uses the layer marks of the 3D printer to create unique visual effects by aligning them in different directions. The modular shape makes it sustainable even for transportation and packaging.


Combining the aesthetics of traditional Japanese 2D weaving with modern 3D printing, the AMI stool and lampshade feature intricate designs created by dripping resin from the air. The resulting pieces change their expression based on the viewing angle.


This lattice-like vase is reminiscent of Japanese architecture and allows for flexible plant arrangements, inspired by the art of Ikebana. This design has such a lightweight aesthetic, making any room feel airy. It’s perfect for minimalistic homes.