Lifestyle & Belief

Hilda Hellstrom turns Fukushima radioactive soil into bowls


This file photo taken on February 28, 2012 shows a journalist looking at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant in the town of Okuma, Fukushima prefecture.

Contaminated farmland surrounding Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster area can no longer be used to grow rice and other crops so why not use it to make… dishes?

That was the idea of Swedish designer Hilda Hellstrom, who tracked down Naoto Matsumura, the last person living within the evacuated zone, and spent four days extracting soil from his rice fields.

According to Fastco Design, the Royal College of Art graduate wanted to create “food vessels” which are “just as useless for their purpose as the land and the farmers of Fukushima.”

Luckily Hellstrom has no plans to hold dinner parties using her new radioactive bowls and plates – they are safe to hold and look at, but when it comes to eating it’s probably better to use those dishes bought from IKEA.

Dezeen Magazine has published photos of Hellstrom and the silver-haired Matsumura digging up dirt from his farm, which is now a wasteland following last year’s nuclear disaster triggered by a massive earthquake and tsunami. Residents surrounding the nuclear plant were evacuated, but Matsumura refused to leave. 

More from GlobalPost: Japan looks set to power up nuclear reactors despite protest

Photos of Hellstrom's finished product show bowls and plates that look like, well, bowls and plates made out of brown soil.

But while the dishes themselves might be useless, Hellstrom hopes they might become “symbolic objects to help people understand the enormity of the disaster,” she was quoted by Dezeen Magazine as saying.

A bowl of radioactive ice cream, anyone?