Studio Swine could be called an art collective or a design studio, but it may be more appropriate to refrain from any pigeonholing and refer to the name behind the acronym instead: Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers. It’s an expansive and ambitious title, but one that is apt at describing their creative practice. Studio Swine tends to make work that imagines solutions to industrial waste, or speculates on fictional scenarios tied up with material histories. We first wrote about one of the studio’s earlier projects, the Gyrecraft three years ago. With Gyrecraft, the designers took plastic waste fished out from the ocean and reworked it into aesthetic objects. It evolved one of their first projects, the Sea Chair, which transformed ocean plastic into a more mundane and literal domestic fixture.
Fast-forward to 2018, and Studio Swine have increased both the scale and abstraction in their work. Their latest project, Infinity Blue, was permanently installed at Eden Project in Cornwall earlier this year. Infinity Blue is an ambitious sculpture that stands at nine meters tall and aims to transport us to prehistoric times, largely via scent. Its inception was inspired by cyanobacteria, tiny organisms that have become famous for toxic climate-change-caused algae blooms in recent times. However, they are also believed to be responsible for life on our planet. Cyanobacteria were the first organisms to develop oxygenic photosynthesis around three billion years ago, converting carbon dioxide into the oxygen we breathe.
Studio Swine created a multi-sensory experience where the sculpture is covered in ceramic tiles made from local clay, and glazed in oxide glazes that refer to the mining history of the region. Their 3D patterns have been determined by algorithms based on patterns found in nature. The towering form expels 32 different smells via smoke rings that blow out towards the audience, engulfing them in a collection of smells that reference various primordial time periods. Perfume house Givaudan helped the studio develop scents to represent the different times in the Earth’s long-gone past. The sculpture’s exhalations echo those of the cyanobacteria, that enables our own breath with each of their exhalations. Read more about the project here, and watch the making-of journey in the video below.