How Studio Swine Is Making Sustainability Desirable

Human hair from a specialist market, plastic from the Atlantic, rubber tapped in the Amazon are some of the materials Studio Swine transform.
Double Bubble: Together, Groves and Murakami would like "to design the whole world."
03_31_Swine_02 Source: Mark Griffiths for Newsweek

Human hair bought in a specialist market in China, plastic rubbish fished out of the Atlantic, natural rubber tapped from trees in the Amazon—these materials are hardly typical of luxury design. But that has not stopped the London-based practice Studio Swine from making furniture out of them.

As its name is meant to suggest, Studio Swine—founded in 2011 by Azusa Murakami, a 32-year-old Japanese-born architect, and her 33-year-old British artist husband, Alex Groves—likes to subvert. “The word swine is not especially desirable or glamorous,” Groves says. “Sometimes we think, Why couldn’t we call ourselves something nice? But then we are interested in taking things and changing the perception of them.”

Chief among the perceptions they want to change is. Studio Swine aims to dust off the cardboard-and-self-flagellation reputation of sustainable design and turn it into something desirable, not just for the way it looks but in the way it’s made. They’ll be taking another step in that direction in early April, at , the gargantuan design festival held annually in Milan.

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