Design collaborative Studio Swine has created Can City – an amazing collection of furniture made almost entirely from aluminum cans salvaged on the streets of São Paulo. Azusa Murakami and Alexander Groves of Studio Swine worked with waste collectors in São Paulo known as “Catadores” to scour the city for materials. In order to turn their salvaged aluminum into art, the team built a mobile foundry that is fueled by vegetable oil collected from local cafes. The resulting furniture collection is a forward-thinking example of how design can stimulate new creative industries and economic growth.
Every part of the Can City project is executed in accordance with sustainable design practices. The foundry itself is made from salvaged materials, and the salvaged aluminum cans are melted down with a simple casting technique that uses readily available construction sand from local building sites. In the future, Catadores could possibly adopt the process to make use of free metal and free fuel to produce their own handcrafted aluminum products.
Murakami and Groves both received their MA in design products from the Royal College of Art, and their studio is currently based in London and São Paulo. They describe their approach as an “exploration of design through material innovation and creation of new sustainable systems,” and they place an “equal importance on aesthetics, believing that desire is the greatest agent of change.” Can City was created for the Coletivo Amor de Madre Gallery in São Paulo, and made possible with the support of Heineken.