At MAD, Studio Swine Shows How ‘Street Design’ Might Beat ‘Street Art’

THE DAILY PIC: A design duo puts a portable foundry onto the streets of Sao Paolo.


THE DAILY PIC: Believe it or not, these stools were cast literally on the streets of Sao Paolo, from old aluminum cans melted in a portable foundry that was fired up using stale cooking oil. This radical experiment in upcycling is by the Anglo-Japanese duo who function as Studio Swine; it is now on show in the exhibition called “New Territories: Laboratories for Design, Craft and Art in Latin America”, at the Museum of Arts and Design in New York. (Click on my image to watch the furnace at work.) I have no idea how functional Swine’s idea really might be. (Is old oil that easily had? Are the stools worth more than the cans themselves, sold as scrap? Are Brazil’s poor and homeless really set up to be suppliers of chic design?) But what matters is not the practicality of either the foundry or the tottery stools it turns out, but the symbolism of engaging with our era’s two greatest problems: Waste and inequality. Every single object that pretends to be “good” design ought to be taking those on.

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