UNconventional: Studio Swine
Meet the design duo behind Studio Swine who focus on creating installations inspired by natural forms and ever-evolving technology.
UNconventional by FTC is a series exploring creators, designers and artists expressing unique, thought-provoking perspectives of socio-cultural and global significance through their craft. These creators stray away from the conventions and norms of everyday ideas and give them a new meaning through their otherworldly creativity.
London based Anglo-Japanese design duo, Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves founded Studio Swine (Swine stands for Super Wide Interdisciplinary New Explorers) in 2011. The studio focuses on creating immersive experiences in the world of design by curating stunning visuals and installations. The two halves of the studio - Japanese architect, Murakami and British artist, Groves select their designs to centre around the notion of research-led, regional products and focus on its culture and resources, using design as a tool for place-making in a globalising world.
Some of their most notable works are Bubble Booth, New Spring, Wave Particle Duplex, and Fog Painting. Working across a wide range of disciplines, Studio Swine's work has gained an international audience within and beyond the design world.
One of their projects, the Wave Particle Duplex was a part of the studios six month residency program at A/D/O - a creative design hub founded by MINI, in Greenpoint, Brooklyn.
The duo were heavily inspired by Plasma, the most abundant state of matter in our visible universe, and wanted to use technology to overcome their urban estrangement from the natural world and solar cycles.
This particular project is presented as ‘Dawn Particles’ which comprises of a series of handblown glass vessels - produced in collaboration with local workshops and artisans - that contain krypton, in the form of plasma similar to that detected in the sun, stars & comet tails. It is a charged gas that is responds to magnetism. The installation which is set in a vibrant red backdrop, generates a high-octane, vacillating voltage that enables the plasma to become volatile within the glass vacuum when touched.
The residency with A/D/O allowed the duo to explore unusual curiosities and investigate new possibilities by working with different artisans, define a different nature to their previous body of work and eventually showcase it all within a special exhibition.
One of their other sustainable installations is the Bubble Booth - a flexible, inflatable display system for Instagram’s Design Miami showcasing. This project was a part of their ambition to become a carbon neutral studio. The carbon footprint from the program was significantly reduced with the help of Mossy Earth, a collective that helps people and businesses offset their carbon footprint by planting forests and by re-wilding environmentally and socially impoverished la
These notable works have also paved the way for the studio to be able to work with numerous high profile clients including Microsoft, Heineken and others who seek imaginative and visionary ways of developing their brand messages - through products, interiors or unique commissions.
Studio Swine has also been awarded the prestigious Designer of the Future award by Swarovski at the Design Miami/Basel in recognition of outstanding young talent in design.
The studio was also selected as the 2015 Visionary in the Design category of Telegraph Luxury, and was awarded the Wallpaper Design Awards for their highly acclaimed Hair Highway project, which topped the New York Times' highlights from Design Miami/Basel 2014.
The project is a contemporary interpretation of the ancient silk road, which not only transported the lustrous silk fiber but technologies, aesthetics and ideas between the east and the west as well. It is a unique series of pieces that is influenced by the Shanghai deco style of the 1930s, rendering geometric forms from an organic substance - in this case, hair!
Besides this, their films have been featured on National Geographic, as well as winning awards from film festivals including Cannes.
Studio Swine has been widely exhibited at institutions such as the Victoria & Albert Museum in London, Museum of Art and Design New York, and the Venice Art Biennale.
The two partners in work and life have committed their lives to design and sustainability and are exploring numerous horizons, all the while staying true to their name.
Head on over to their website to have a detailed look at all their projects so far.