This story is a part of MOLD’s reader-submitted project series. Submit your projects here for consideration.

“The main challenge for the makers of lab-grown fish and meat alternatives is persuading people to try them. The first step is getting consumers beyond the sci-fi strangeness of the brave new world. One way has been to employ chefs to work with the products, and then normalize them in high-end restaurants.” – Document Journal

Aura Murillo in collaboration with Tokyo Design Lab (DLX). Renders by Brice Moreau.


Saku is a fine dining experience designed with Takeuchi Lab to combine the wonders of cultured meat with the emotional and human side of food. With cultured meat ready to move from labs to tables around the world, it is more relevant than ever to design how people will experience it for the first time and inspire people to try it. By designing every detail, Saku consists of exclusive Takeuchi signature dishes in bespoke tableware design, and an exploratory learning journey all packed into an immersive experience.


Even though cultured meat is extremely promising and has advantages that range from sustainability to public health, society is still reluctant to it. One explanation of this is the way it is perceived as artificial, heavily processed and chemically produced. What if we can change this perception and create a sense of intrigue and excitement by designing a gastronomic experience around it?


The project was supervised by the Tokyo Design Lab throughout the process with tutorials, presentations and constant dialogues and updates from science. We worked in collaboration with Takeuchi Lab, who is pioneering in the development of cultured meat by developing new techniques in their lab in Tokyo. The project started with a phase of ideation followed by a development phase where workshops and interviews were crucial. The experience was designed through journey maps and experience flows and had an outcome of 4 core elements: Bespoke “Takeuchi” meat dishes, the design of beautiful tableware to convey the narrative of the experience, communication and graphic cards for the diner to understand the process behind cultured meat, and a complete immersive experience.


“The real Next New Thing is not plant-based, but lab-grown meat and animal proteins. Investors are pouring hundreds of millions into start-ups, looking ahead to a time in what they claim to be the not-so-distant future when humans will feed not on dead animals, or farm-fresh eggs, or milk from cows, or even plant-based processed foods, but on actual animal flesh and other animal products grown by humans.” (Document Journal)


Aura Murillo is a Mexican experience designer currently taking a Master’s degree in design called Global Innovation Design from both Royal College of Art and Imperial College London.