Studio Swine may sound like a strangely unglamorous name for a design studio, but here Swine stands for Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers, rather than a farm animal or a derogatory term. A much more apt description of the work produced by the couple Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves. The architect and artist duo have an explorative approach to their projects, favouring material experimentation and research as an integral part of their design process. Studio Swine's work is deeply engaged with the role of design within society, always looking to the future and trying to align their production techniques with the reality of our planet's diminishing resources.
Gyrecraft is their latest project. The curious collection of sculptural objects are the result of a 10 day trip aboard a sailboat that traverses the seas, engaging in scientific research around the problem of plastic pollution in our oceans. Murakami and Groves embarked on a journey from Azores to the Canary Islands, travelling across the North Atlantic Gyre—a strong, circular ocean current that is notorious for gathering human pollution. The gyre breaks down sea-strewn plastic into small pieces that can be easily ingested my sea life and then humans, of course. The designers collected this plastic debris on their trip, separating it into colours by hand. A contraption made with the help of Andrew Friend, that was dubbed the Solar Extruder, sat onboard the sailing ship and helped melt the plastic down to a homogenous material, which they then manipulated and shaped into a collection of stunning luxury objects.
The five different objects represent the five gyres that hold the oceans' largest deposits of plastic pollutions. Each of the pieces is inspired by the maritime crafts specific to a group of people living in each of the regions. The result is a curious mixture of traditional craft and contemporary materials and aesthetic. It's an interesting project that not only sheds light upon our excessive pollution, but recontextualises trash into luxury goods. Watch the video for a beautiful overview of the journey, and see Studio Swine's website for more information about each of the objects.